The Volkswagen works team achieved remarkable success in the Rallye Telefanica Dakar, their debut in cross-country rallying. After 19 tough stages the very first competitive outing of the Volkswagen Tarek ended with Stephane Henrard and Bobby Willis in sixth position and eighth place for Jutta Kleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons.
The name Tarek, the road in English, comes from the Arab language. For Volkswagen, it is more than just the name of the competition car. For its debut in modern-day cross country rallying, the company has set initial ambitions that are to be achieved with a specially designed vehicle concept.
‘The decision for a rear-wheel driven buggy is the most efficient concept that could be achieved in the short period of time between the start of our project and the Dakar rally’, says Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk, head of Volkswagen Racing. ‘A buggy is a light-weight tubular construction.
This rigid and reliable basis is an excellent testing facility for our TDIÂ®-technology. Moreover, it is the first opportunity for the entire crew to get to know the geographical conditions in the world’s toughest cross country event.’
In all test sessions, the buggy, prepared to the T2 regulations set out by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, proved to be rigid, reliable and thus competitive right away. The 1180 kg light prototype with its carbonfibre bodywork is based on a steel tubular chassis and is powered by a 160 kW (218 hp) strong 1.9 litre Volkswagen four-cylinder TDI-engine. While the spectacular bodywork and the chassis structure were only completed a few months prior to the Dakar Rally, the TDIÂ®-powerplant in several different varieties already got its baptism of fire in motorsport. ‘The TDIÂ®-technology has already been tested in various motorsport activities, among others during the Dakar Rally’, Rudolf-Helmut Strozyk explains.