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.April 28, 2004
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Testing the Race-Touareg in the South of France

Photo: VW

Volkswagen Motorsport tested a number of innovations for cross-country rallying with the Race-Touareg on the Château Lastours track near Narbonne close to the Franco-Spanish border. Works drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt and Bruno Saby completed a five-day test to optimise the suspension set-up and to verify new components and assembly groups. After the successful début of the Race-Touareg on the Dakar Rally in January when Volkswagen creditably scored sixth place overall with Frenchman Bruno Saby and claimed the first stage victory of the prototype with Jutta Kleinschmidt, the outfit is preparing for the 2005 Dakar Rally with a series of tests and three scheduled rally events.


During the first test session from 18th to 22nd April, the team, under the technical guidance of Eduard Weidl, developed a modified suspension configuration using new shock absorber components. "We have achieved a slightly softer set-up which considerably improves the comfort and thus our concentration on lengthy legs without having a negative effect on the times", reports Jutta Kleinschmidt. Her team-mate Bruno Saby added: "I know the tough, rocky and quick test track very well and I have sampled many cars there previously. The newly-developed steering of the Race-Touareg 'smoothes out' the rough surfaces much better than before. The car ran perfectly for five days, thus confirming the impression of high reliability we've already gained during the Dakar Rally. We have confirmed the chosen direction of development and we systematically improve."

Both works drivers alternated at the wheel of both rally Race-Touareg vehicles to individually check every change and to consult each other before taking further steps. "In spite of being affected by rain and wind for three days, we are very happy with our work", summed up Eduard Weidl. "Apart from the suspension and steering modifications, which helped us another step forward, we've used many new small parts and components to improve serviceability in order to ease the work of the team."

Before Volkswagen Motorsport enters the third round of the FIA Cross Country World Cup from 1 to 6 June in Morocco, another multiple-day test session is scheduled for May.

(April 23, 2004)

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