VW upgrades Dakar challenger

Volkswagen has answered Carlos Sainz's call for improvements to its Dakar challenger, with the introduction of Race Touareg 3 - a car which the German manufacturer hopes will carry it to a hat-trick of victories on the marathon event next January

VW upgrades Dakar challenger

When Sainz won the Dakar earlier this season, his first but VW's second, the Spaniard admitted there was work to do if the result was to be repeated in 12 months.

Sainz talked of his concerns at the speed which Stephane Peterhansel's BMW X3 showed prior to the Frenchman suffering a broken propshaft on the fifth stage while leading the event.

Sainz's questions have been answered and Race Touareg 3 starts testing in Morocco later this month.

"The evolution of the vehicle into the Race Touareg 3 represents the next logical step we're taking towards our big aim of achieving the hat-trick at the Dakar Rally," said Volkswagen Motorsport director Kris Nissen.

"With new aerodynamics this Race Touareg will look even more spectacular than before. Its core is well proven because we continue to bank on the consistently optimised technology package that has been giving the Race Touareg first-rate performance and maximum reliability."

The Race Touareg 3 replaces the previous car, which had been running since 2005, but it is more evolution than revolution with the car's TDi engine, suspension and chassis remaining largely untouched.

VW will commit four Race Touareg 3s to next year's South American Dakar, with Sainz and this year's Dakar runner-up Nasser Al-Attiyah expected to take two of the cars. The new car will be officially unveiled in August before contesting September's Silk Way Rally as a warm-up for Dakar.

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