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Stuck and Carlos Sainz in Volkswagen Scirocco on the Nordschleife

Stuck and Carlos Sainz in Volkswagen Scirocco on the Nordschleife

The 24-hour race on the Nuerburgring is known as one of the most difficult, if not THE most difficult 24-hour race in the world. Therefore it is no surprise that VW will let two of the most experienced and well-known driver compete with the new VW Scirocco in this race before its official market launch.

The two-time Le Mans winner Hans-Joachim Stuck and the two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz are leading Volkswagen’s line-up of drivers for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. The three factory-developed racing versions of the Scirocco, which is making its début on the race track before its market launch, will be piloted by an unusual mix of seasoned rally and circuit drivers as well as young talent and journalists at the legendary motorsport marathon staged at the "Green Hell" on 24 and 25 May.

Alongside factory driver Carlos Sainz (E) his rally team-mates Giniel de Villiers (RSA) and Dieter Depping (D) from cross-country rally sport are part of the line-up as well as Volkswagen Junior Jimmy Johansson (S) and the seasoned touring car racers Florian Gruber (D), Thomas Mutsch (D) and Francois Verbist (B). Prominent support from the Volkswagen Group will be provided to them by Hans-Joachim Stuck (A), who has been the company’s motorsport representative since the beginning of this year, as well as by Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Volkswagen board member for technical development. Other Scirocco drivers are journalists Bernd Ostmann (ams) and Matthias Malmedie (Grip - das Motormagazin)

Board member Dr Ulrich Hackenberg said about this "demanding project” that
"the new Scirocco’s entry in what is arguably the world’s toughest auto race is a demanding as well as an exciting project.” He continued "the objective should be for one of the three Scirocco teams to repeat the 2007 class victory of the Golf GTI. This would be an excellent way to support the market launch of the production model in autumn.”

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen is convinced that the drivers as well as the Scirocco will cause a sensation at this tradition-rich race. "With this fantastic drivers’ squad and the racing début of the Scirocco, which has attracted a lot of attention since its unveiling in Geneva, we’re offering a real highlight to the crowd of some 200,000 spectators lining the circuit and the many TV viewers during the long live coverage on DSF," says Kris Nissen. "Last year, the successful running of the Golf GTI with class victory and eighth place overall made a strong impression. Now, the Scirocco’s entry means that a legend, which made its mark in racing as early as in the seventies and eighties, returns to the race track.”

Three-time Nürburgring winner Stuck: "A dream combination"

The Volkswagen Group’s motorsport representative, Hans-Joachim Stuck, will tackle the 24-hour race on the 25.378-kilometre combination of the Grand Prix circuit as a proven Nürburgring veteran. As many as three times – in 1970, 1998 and 2004 – "Strietzel" Stuck won this prestigious race in the "Green Hell”.

"I’m proud about the fact that, at my age, I have the chance to take part in the racing début of a newly introduced car like the Scirocco. In addition, it’s a great thing for me to compete alongside Carlos Sainz as a team-mate. In rally racing he’s a shining light, similar to Michael Schumacher in Formula 1," says Stuck. "For me, the 24-Hour Race at the Nürburgring along with the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indy 500 is one of the world’s four most attractive races. With the Scirocco we can compete for class victory and a good result overall. In all, a dream combination."

Factory drivers from cross-country rally sport take turn as circuit racers

For the Volkswagen factory drivers from the brand’s cross-country rally programme - Carlos Sainz, Giniel de Villiers and Dieter Depping – contesting the 24-hour race barely a month after competing in the Central Europe Rally in Hungary and Romania from 20 to 26 April represents a welcome, contrasting change. All three have experience in circuit racing. Giniel de Villiers won the touring car championship in his native South Africa in 1994 as well as from 1997 to 2000. Dieter Depping clinched class victory at the 24-Hour Race at the Nürburgring in the Golf GTI last year.”

"My last circuit race dates back to the 1980s at the beginning of my career,” says Carlos Sainz, who won the 2007 FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup with Volkswagen. "I’ve never driven a 24-hour race and am looking forward to it very much. I only know the Nürburgring from what others have told me about it and have heard that this race poses a very special challenge. I want to support the team as best I can, that’s why I’m going to prepare myself thoroughly and will compete in a test race as well."

2007 class winners in the field again: Johansson, Gruber and Depping

As three of the four drivers who clinched class victory in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring last year, Jimmy Johansson, Florian Gruber and Dieter Depping are part of the field again this year. In 2007, together with René Rast – the Volkswagen Junior will not be part of the line-up at the "ring" as he will be contesting the Porsche Supercup race in Monaco at the same time – they were victorious with the Golf GTI in the two-litre turbo engine class and, in addition, achieved an outstanding overall finish in eighth place. The racing version of the new Scirocco is based on last year’s successful technology and, like its predecessor, is powered by a 300-hp 2-litre TFSI engine.

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