Today, 6 January 2019, marks the beginning of the 41st edition of the famous Dakar rally. Since 2009 South America is home to the most famous off road race in the world after serious terrorist threats forced the organizers to abandon the African continent. During the first years of this new era Volkswagen was king with it's Race Touareg 2.

Having won the 2009 and 2010 race it was time for an upgrade. The Race Touareg 2 was originally designed to run in the vast hot deserts of Africa. South America has plenty of deserts as well but these are located at a significantly higher altitude. Just remember Hammond, May and Clarkson having to gasp for air when they were climbing that volcano in their Bolivia special. The Race Touareg 3 was specifically designed to cope with this hostile environment.

The Race Touareg 2 on the left next to it's follow up

The Race Touareg 2 on the left next to it's follow up

It's carbon/kevlar body was updated for more aerodynamic efficiency and provided more air flow to the 2.5L turbodiesel V8 now producing 300 horsepower and a torque figure of 600 Newton Meters. All good for a top speed of almost 190 Km/h or 118 Mph.

Before the Race Touareg 3 was finished however, various test sessions were organized using the old Touareg as a base. The biggest being a whole slew of tests in the French Alps. This is where it gets slightly sketchy. Most of these tests were held on an open road meaning that if you were travelling to your ski resort, there was a high probability of the offroad monster appearing in your rear view mirror. It Wouldn't stay there for long as the Race Touareg was being driven at race pace. The exact speed isn't known but it's safe to say it was well above the speed limit.

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Crossing into the opposite lane, drifting, forcing a poor Mercedes van to move out of the way, etc...The Race Touareg was truly the most feared car on the road that day. The ruthless testing program was worth it as Volkswagen ended up winning the 2011 Dakar rally.

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