Volkswagen is preparing four Race Touareg 2 models to compete in the grueling 2009 Dakar Rally.

Volkswagen is preparing four Race Touareg 2 models to compete in the grueling 2009 Dakar Rally. This time the teams are hoping to improve upon last year’s successful season which included two wins and a second place finish.

Powering the off-road racers is a 2.5-litre TDI diesel engine which produces 280 hp (205kW). These SUV’s only share the Touareg name with the production version, as these models are custom built for the rough terrain. Construction is currently underway as the team has to finish the vehicles by November 15 in order for them to be shipped to France where Dakar officials will scrutinize them.

For the first time ever, the Dakar Rally will take place in South America. Beginning on January 3 teams will disembark from Buenos Aires, Argentina and cover more than 9,000 km and compete in 15 stages. Among the obstacles this year is the Atacama Desert, which is the driest desert in the world and features some of the highest dune fields on earth.

VW Race Touareg 2 Takes Shape for 2009 Dakar