BFGoodrich's Ninth Dakar Win
Competing with the new BF Goodrich All-Terrain tyre, Volkswagen Race Touareg driver Giniel De Villiers scored the first Dakar win of his career today in Buenos Aires. The South African's American team-mate Mark Miller followed him across the line to hand the Volkswagen team a resounding one two finish on the first Dakar to take place in South America. For cross-country rallying's benchmark tyre brand, BFGoodrich, this year's result takes its total score to nine outright Dakar wins.
The German squad, which fielded a line-up of four Race Touaregs, all competing on the BFGoodrich All-Terrain tyre, dominated the 2009 Dakar pretty much from start to finish, winning 10 of the 13 stages actually contested. The team's Carlos Sainz (VW/BFGoodrich) topped the leaderboard for all of a week but the Spaniard's hopes were cruelly dashed when he crashed out on SS12.
The new All-Terrain - which BF Goodrich has developed for its partner teams VW, BMW and Mitsubishi - proved extremely competitive over the event's exceptionally varied terrain which ranged from smooth, fastflowing tracks to towering dunes.
Making its Dakar debut in the hands of BMW's and Volkswagen's factory crews, the new tyre won every stage but one. The only exception was yesterday's penultimate test which saw victory go to the BFGoodrich Rock T/A.
The All-Terrain 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 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.
Giniel de Villiers (1st, VW/BFGoodrich): "I would like to say a big thank you to BF Goodrich Tyres for having developed the All-Terrain. 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 All-Terrain, we succeeded in climbing them without getting stuck and, in most cases, without having to stop to reduce our tyre pressures. Even on the longest stages, we didn't have a single problem with wear, either, 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, 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): "It's been a fantastic rally; a real Dakar, and even tougher than Africa. The terrain was incredibly varied but our All-Terrain tyres took everything in their stride. I really only had one puncture, and that was after swiping a rock pretty 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 Rock T/A 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 in the course of 2009 as we start to turn our attention to the 2010 Dakar."