VW Dakar Rally driver to tweet while driving

(Ed note: Should we say anything about the notion of texting/tweeting while driving?)

When it comes to off-road racing, the Dakar Rally is the Super Bowl of events, and the kickoff is set for January 1. When Volkswagen American factory driver, Mark Miller straps in to his Volkswagen Race Touareg for the 17-day journey across South America, he’ll be taking Twitter users along for the ride. Fans can follow Miller at www.twitter.com/MarkMillerDakar.

The 32nd edition of the Dakar Rally begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina and spans 17 days and 9,000 km from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans across some of the most rugged terrain in Argentina and Chile. During the race, five pairs of Volkswagen drivers will battle against other competitors in Volkswagen Race Touaregs powered by 280 hp clean diesel, TDI engines. The 2010 campaign is Miller’s fourth try at the legendary race and his third as a Volkswagen factory driver.

In 2009, Volkswagen scored a 1-2 victory in the Dakar Rally with its Race Touaregs in the car class. The German duo of Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz took the win with Miller and teammate Ralph Pitchford (New Zealand) coming in second. With this finish, Miller, a Carefree, Arizona native, became the highest finishing American driver in the history of the race. The 2009 race was also significant, as it marked the first Dakar win for a diesel-powered car.

“I have been participating in off-road racing of various forms for most of my life, and there’s not a more prestigious or challenging race anywhere than the Dakar Rally," Miller said. “Volkswagen’s 1-2 finish last year was one of the proudest moments in my racing career, but this year, I’m hoping to land on top and take that feeling of accomplishment to the next level. Thanks to modern technology, I’ll be able to give Twitter followers an inside look at my adventure. I’ll be sharing commentary and photos on our experience, and it’s going to be a great ride!"

Miller has been competing in off-road racing for more than 20 years. In 2005, Volkswagen recognized him as one of the top talents in the world and signed him as a factory driver for its off-road team based in Hanover, Germany. In 2006 and 2007, he finished fifth and fourth in the Dakar Rally driving a Race Touareg. Miller also serves as a driving instructor for the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup in the U.S.

Volkswagen has a storied off-road racing history dating back to the 1950’s. The German auto manufacturer’s participation in the Dakar Rally began in 1980 when the team won with the Iltis in the second year of the race. Since 2003, this discipline has become the central part of the Volkswagen off-road motorsports program with the TDI-powered Race Touareg.

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