Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet)
Hmmmmm... anyone remember KTM's press release this time last year?
As I understand it, the car VW field is only eligible for Dakar (which is why you don't see it in the FIM world championship)... I'd suggest VW suck it up and build a car (like BMW has) that can compete on a wider stage - and especially if they want to play in ASO's garden?
Volkswagen "Race Toureg" is eligible under the FIA T1 Super Production rules for the other events in the FIA Cross Country World Championship (as are the X-Raid BMW's and Mitsubishi Lancer/Pajero EVO's). In fact VW has raced the "Race Toureg" at other FIA Cross Country events in previous years 2006-08 (UAE Desert Challenge, Tunisia, Des Sertoes etc.) in order to get test/race miles under the belt for both the car/team and drivers (Carlos came into rally raid from WRC with a great driving portfolio... but not much desert miles to his credit).
Once the VW outfit was up to pace, they curtailed (more recently) their participation in the other FIA and focussed on Dakar (always mooted as their main goal). It's a logical conclusion that this "lower profile" race program, also has a bit to do with the "economic climate" that has hit so many other rally programs (the factory Mitsubishi rally Raid outfit, Nissans T1 Dakar program, Subaru in WRC etc.)
I suspect that VW likes the south america Dakar concept...because, it suits their car, their drivers and (unlike in Africa) they are not giving away ten to fifteen years in experience to their major competition. ie: level playing field.
Then, what their marketing department see's as their primary market place etc. well that's for their bean counters to justify I s'pose.