Volkswagen won the 2009 Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile with the Race Touareg and thus made motorsport history. The exploit clinched by the South African-German duo Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in the debut event of the legendary desert classic in South America marked the first ever victory of a diesel-powered vehicle in the automobile class in the 30-year-history of the "Dakar". Their Volkswagen team colleagues Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford as the runners-up completed the exploit as a one-two victory.
In the extremely tough test for man and material the Volkswagen Race Touareg with its innovative 280-hp TDI engine proved to be the fastest and most reliable car, while the field of contenders – featuring 14 top cars with diesel engines – was of a higher calibre than ever. Volkswagen defeated the serial "Dakar" winners, Mitsubishi, who had not been beaten since 2001, as well as the X-raid BMW team. Besides de Villiers/von Zitzewitz and Miller/Pitchford at the top, the German duo Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk in another Race Touareg finished the Dakar Rally, in sixth place overall. Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F) in another one of the Red Bull blue Race Touareg vehicles, who had been leading the class of the total of 168 cars that had started to the event on eight days, retired after an accident on the twelfth leg while leading the rally.