GREENVILLE, S.C. – Jan. 26, 2009 –Competing with new BFGoodrich® All-Terrain tires, Volkswagen Race Touareg driver Giniel De Villiers scored the first Dakar win of his career last weekend in Buenos Aires. The South African’s American teammate Mark Miller followed him across the line to hand the Volkswagen team a resounding one-two finish at the first Dakar to take place in South America. For cross-country rally racing’s benchmark tire brand – BFGoodrich Tires – this year’s result takes its total score to nine Dakar wins.
After taking command two stages from home, Giniel de Villiers claimed the 14th and final stage of the 2009 Dakar to put the seal on his first win on the world’s most punishing cross-country rally event, which was hosted for the first time in Argentina and Chile. The South African completed the distance with a lead of 8 minutes 59 seconds over his USA-based teammate Mark Miller, and 1 hour 46 minutes 15 seconds clear of another American stalwart, Robby Gordon (Hummer), who joined the Volkswagen/BFGoodrich Tires pair on the podium.
The German squad, which fielded a line-up of four race Touaregs, all competing on BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires dominated the 2009 Dakar from nearly start to finish, winning 10 of the 13 stages. The team’s Carlos Sainz (VW/BFGoodrich Tires) topped the leader board for the week but his hopes were all but lost when he crashed out on SS12.
The All-Terrain tire – which BFGoodrich Tires developed for its partner teams VW, BMW and Mitsubishi – proved extremely competitive over the event’s exceptionally varied terrain, which ranged from smooth, fast-flowing tracks to towering dunes. While making its Dakar debut in the hands of BMW’s and Volkswagen’s factory crews, the new tire won every stage but one. The only exception was yesterday’s penultimate test which saw victory go to the BFGoodrich Tires Rock T/A tire.
The new All-Terrain tire was used competitively for the first time in 2008 and has been designed to deliver improved dune-crossing ability, plus enhanced resistance to wear. Volkswagen and BMW both nominated the newcomer for the Dakar, while front-running privateers Tollefsen from Norway and Poland’s Holowczyc were given the chance to use the All-Terrain tire during the second half of the event, which notably featured the awesome dunes of the Atacama Desert. Both drivers went on to finish the rally inside the top-five overall.
Quotes from Dakar:
Giniel de Villiers (1st, VW/BFGoodrich Tires)
“I would like to say a big thank you to BFGoodrich Tires for having developed the All-Terrain tire. It performed outstandingly in the Atacama Desert and over the sandy northernmost Argentine stages, especially SS12, which will go down as one of the toughest I have ever come across in my entire career. Some of the dunes were just gigantic. Thanks to the BFGoodrich All-Terrain tire, we succeeded in climbing them without being stuck and, in most cases, without having to stop to reduce our tire pressures. Even on the longest stages, we did not have a single problem with wear and we picked up very few punctures during the event, despite the huge rocks, we were occasionally forced to clamber over. The team’s decision to nominate a slightly ‘re-cut’ version of the All-Terrain tire, with a small change to the tread pattern to improve the car’s handling on those stages which had a loose top-coating of gravel, turned out to be the ideal choice…”
Mark Miller (2nd, VW/BFGoodrich Tires)
“It’s been a fantastic rally; a real Dakar, and even tougher than Africa. The terrain was incredibly varied but our All-Terrain tires took everything in their stride. I really only had one puncture, and that was after swiping a rock hard. One puncture after more than 5,000km of stages is a truly exceptional achievement.”
Dominique Serieys (Mitsubishi Team Manager)
“Before the start, we opted to nominate the BFGoodrich Rock T/A tire for our four Mitsubishi Racing Lancers competing on this year’s Dakar. That was the drivers’ preference and we take full responsibility for the decision. As it turned out, though, it was actually perhaps the best choice for us given where we stand with the development of our new car. We will continue to work closely with our partner BFGoodrich Tires in the course of 2009 as we start to turn our attention to the 2010 Dakar.”
Dominique Bravy (BFGoodrich Tires Technician)
“The BFGoodrich Tires All-Terrain tire has been unanimously acclaimed by all our driver-partners who ran this new product on what turned out to be an exceptionally difficult Dakar as far as tires were concerned. The weather was hotter than we were accustomed to in Africa and the combination of the high average speeds of the early part of the rally, plus the trials that followed and the towering dunes, which marked the second week, made this event a unique challenge. We had always been hoping for victory, of course, but the bottom line of the past two weeks in South America is extremely positive for BFGoodrich Tires. The All-Terrain tire turned out to be durable and highly competitive over sand, while at the same time delivering a more comfortable ride for the crews. In addition to our overall success, BFGoodrich Tires claimed victory in the T2 category, too, thanks to Nicolas Gibon whose Toyota was equipped with the new BFGoodrich Tires Mud-Terrain.”
Using motorsports as a proving ground for more than 30 years, BFGoodrich Tires is involved in every type of racing, including oval, sports car, drifting, drag, desert, dirt, rally, and extreme rock crawling. BFGoodrich Tires combines technological expertise with vast motorsports experience, delivering a high-performance tire for every type of vehicle. Visit BFGoodrich Tires online at www.bfgoodrichtires.com.