VW snares rally tri­fecta

NT News - Motoring - - NEWS - By MARK HINCH­LIFFE

THE gru­elling two-week Dakar Rally in South Amer­ica might be over for an­other year, but you should ex­pect to see im­ages from the race over the next year as Volk­swa­gen ex­ploits its 1-2-3 win.

VW’s storm­ing diesel Touaregs came first and sec­ond last year and then rammed home the dom­i­na­tion with the top three plac­ings, plus sev­enth place, this year.

VW Group Aus­tralia PR gen­eral man­ager Karl Gehling said it was a great re­sult for the Volk­swa­gen Motorsport team.

‘‘To achieve back-to­back vic­to­ries high­lights the im­pres­sive per­for­mance of both the race Touaregs and the driv­ers in such a de­mand­ing event as the Dakar,’’ he said.

Spa­niard Car­los Sainz won the rally in 47 hours, 10 min­utes, with the next VW two min­utes be­hind.

The fac­tory VW team had a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar bud­get, far more than any other team, while the other man­u­fac­tur­ers didn’t of­fi­cially have fac­tory teams, but gave sup­port to pri­vate teams.

The Aus­tralian team of Bruce Gar­land and Harry Suzuki won last year’s pro­duc­tion cat­e­gory in 11th out­right in a diesel Isuzu D-Max ute.

Un­for­tu­nately, Bris­bane-born Gar­land’s ute only lasted half way this year af­ter a loose spare wheel holed the ra­di­a­tor in a freak ac­ci­dent while in 21st place.

They limped back to the bivouac only to be dis­qual­i­fied for miss­ing too many way points.

Five Aus­tralians started the rally with West Aus­tralian KTM rider Garry Con­nell the first to with­draw in the first week, fol­lowed by Gar­land and Suzuki.

The only Aus­tralians to fin­ish were KTM rid­ers Rob Pol­lard of Perth in 39th and French-born Christophe Bar­riere-Varju, of Syd­ney, in 57th out of 89 rid­ers left from a start­ing grid of 150.

The bike cat­e­gory was won for the third time by Cyril De­spres of France.

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