Volkswagn Amarok pickup - click above to enlarge

Two months from now, Volkswagen will be expanding its involvement in the annual Dakar Rally in South America. Just as they did last January, factory-backed teams will be competing in the 5.600 mile race through Argentina and Chile. However, this time, those outfits will be fielding four race Touaregs rather than two.

Perhaps more interesting is official word that VW's new Amarok pickup truck will be the official support truck of the for the entire rally. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has struck a deal with the race organizers, and as a result, the specially outfitted Amaroks will travel the same route as the competitors carrying media, checking out route conditions, and carrying VW crews and race organizers. The Amarok will be built by VW in Argentina starting in 2010, but the automaker has repeatedly said the truck won't be offered in the U.S. market. Learn more by checking out the official press release after the jump.

[Source: Volkswagen]


PRESS RELEASE:

Volkswagen Amarok will be Official Support Vehicle for Dakar Rally

* 35 pickups to be used in the world's toughest rally
* Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is the "Official Supplier" to the A.S.O.

Hannover, 16th November 2009. It is durable, robust and can tackle any road, no matter how tricky: the Volkswagen Amarok will have to prove those claims from January 2010 during the world's toughest rally. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is the "Official Supplier" to the Dakar Rally and a partner to the organiser, the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.). The new pickup from Volkswagen will be the Support Vehicle for the rally. The organiser is to use 20 Amarok, with a further 15 to be used as press and shuttle vehicles.

From 1st to 17th January 2010, the Dakar Rally will also see four teams from Volkswagen Motorsport as well as many other teams travelling 9,000 km through Argentina and Chile. The rally starts and finishes in Buenos Aires.

The Amarok will undergo an endurance test during the Dakar Rally, because it will have to handle all the challenges of the demanding stages: as the organiser's vehicle to reconnoitre the rally stages, as a press vehicle and as a shuttle for the Volkswagen Motorsport team.

Four of the Volkswagen Amarok from the A.S.O. fleet will get additional off-road conversions for the trip, and four Panamericana multivans will also be used.

"We are pleased to be able to use the Volkswagen Amarok as our Support Vehicle, because the Dakar Rally demands the highest levels of technical perfection, reliability and endurance – from our Race Touareg as much as from the support vehicles. The Amarok is exactly the right vehicle for our team", explains Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director.

"The Volkswagen Amarok is Volkswagen's answer to the pickup and on the Dakar Rally – one of the last great adventures for mankind – it will have the chance to show what it's made of and to demonstrate its flexibility and durability", adds Stephan Schaller, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

"Moreover, the Volkswagen Amarok is built in Argentina and South America is one of the most important markets for this product, so taking part in the 2010 Dakar Rally was an absolute must for us", stresses Schaller.

The Volkswagen Amarok will be seen at the Dakar Rally in Argentina for the first time and will then be launched initially in South American markets, followed by Europe. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is entering a new vehicle sector.