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Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Despite the best efforts of racing organizations the world over to clean up their image, it's pretty tough to consider any kind of motorsport squeaky clean. Apparently, that's especially true of the recent Dakar rally in South America. Besides the expected burning of fossil fuels and the emissions associated with it, the National Monuments Council (NMC) of Chile reports that the off-road race caused roughly $570,000 (300 million pesos) of damage to 56 of the country's 111 heritage sites.

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Despite the best efforts of racing organizations the world over to clean up their image, it's pretty tough to consider any kind of motorsport squeaky clean. Apparently, that's especially true of the recent Dakar rally in South America. Besides the expected burning of fossil fuels and the emissions associated with it, the National Monuments Council (NMC) of Chile reports that the off-road race caused roughly $570,000 (300 million pesos) of damage to 56 of the country's 111 heritage sites.

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In January 2009, Volkswagen took its first shot at the grueling Dakar Rally with some diesel-powered race Touaregs and finished first and second. This year, the automaker went back and took the first three positions at the finish. With an all-new Touareg on deck – we know, we know, the race vehicle doesn't share much with the production version – Volkswagen has decided to go back and try for the hat-trick. VW hasn't given any details, but we expect the 2011 race vehicle to be derived

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Carlos Sainz wins the 2010 Dakar Rally for VW – Click above for high-res image gallery

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QT Wildcat 500DKR - click above for high-res image gallery

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Volkswagen Amarok Dakar Support Vehicle – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Casualties are nothing new in the history of the Dakar Rally, and unfortunately the 2010 event has already claimed a life. During the opening stage of the 32nd running of the 9,000-kilometer race this weekend, 28 year-old Natalia Sonia Gallardo was struck and killed by a truck being driven by Mirco Schultis. As a result of large crowds along the route, Gallardo was reportedly standing in an unauthorized area where spectators were not supposed to be and police did nothing to stop people from gath

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Volkswagn Amarok pickup - click above to enlarge

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Klever Kolberg and his ethanol-powered MItsubishi Pajero Sport - Click above for high-res gallery

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Austrian motorcycle maker KTM stakes its reputation on the ability of its off-road motorcycles to tackle the toughest terrain on earth, and it's made a habit of proving these capabilities with both a factory team and a far-reaching privateer support program in the Dakar Rally each year. Up through 2009, that is – KTM has just announced that it's pulling out of next year's event.

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Mitsubishi joins makers like Honda, Audi, Porsche, Suzuki, Subaru, and Kawasaki in pulling out of some form of motorsports because of... well, do we really need to say it? Neither the Mitsubishi Pajeros that won the Dakar Rally twelve times in total (out of 26 attempts), nor the diesel Racing Lancer that earned a seventh place in this year's race, will be seen plying the sands again any time soon. The Japanese automaker has ended its factory efforts in order to focus on its core business. Having

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Two of the five of Volkswagen Race Touareg TDIs that ran in this year's Dakar Rally took top overall positions in the two marathon. The truck driven Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz led to the finish capturing the first ever overall win for a diesel powered vehicle in this race. The Race Touaregs were powered by 2.5L five cylinder diesel engine that is basically half of the V10 TDI formerly used in the production Touareg. In race trim this engine produces 280 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque.

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The Dakar Rally is famous for its unfortunate history of taking the lives of those who dare to take part in the endurance race, and this year's running is no exception. The body of 49-year-old French motorcyclist Pascal Terry has been found after the rider went missing for three days. Race officials had gone searching for Terry after they received word that his Yamaha motorcycle had run out of fuel. Pascal's body was found in the shade near his motorcycle and he reportedly had abundant food and

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The preparations have begun for the race formerly known as the Paris-Dakar. The entrants have begun to gather in Le Havre, France, for scrutineering before shipping out to South America for the Dakar's run across Argentina and Chile. Mike Werner was in Normandy and captured in photographs what was going on. If you ever wondered wanted to see what it takes to get ready for a big-deal international race, the words to describe the images are "intense preparation" -- right down to making sure the ve

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Click above for a high-res gallery of the Volkswagen Touareg 2 Race

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Following terrorist threats that forced the cancellation of this year's Dakar Rally, race organizers ASO went searching the world for alternative locations. They settled on South America, with plans to hold additional events in Central Europe. However, if the geopolitical situation changes, Dakar could be back in Africa by 2012. ASO chief Patrice Clerc has expressed his desire to bring the event back to its roots. In order for the Dakar Rally to return to Dakar, however, the threats made against

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After the cancellation of the Dakar Rally due to terrorist threats, the Amaury Sport Organization decided to bump up its launch of the Dakar Series, a new campaign that attempts to bring the thrills of the Dakar to venues around the globe.

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Amaury Sport Organization, the group behind the Dakar Rally, has found a new venue after threats of terrorism caused the group to cancel the annual rally last month. The newly rescheduled and renamed race will be held April 20th through 26th in Romania and Hungary, offering a markedly different venue for an event that would otherwise be held in the arid landscape of the Sahara.

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