VW, in its third year as an official supplier to the Dakar Rally, has launched a fleet of nearly 40 vehicles, including 30 Amaroks, towards South America for use as support vehicles during the 2012 event. The 2012 Dakar will see competitors from around the world, including South Africa, line up to tackle the 9000km course from Argentina through Chile and on to the finish in Lima, Peru. The rally will run from January 1-15, 2012 and, like the competitors, the Amaroks and other support vehicles will be subjected to some of the harshest terrain on Earth over those two weeks. They will be required to deal with the desert conditions of the Atacama and the effects of altitude when crossing the Andes mountains as they make their way from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. HIGH SPIRITSHowever, it's not all doom and gloom... VW has announced that a troupe of famous visitors will keep spirits high during the rest day midway through the event. Former F1 racer and one-time winner of the Paris-Dakar in 1983, rally driver Jacky Ickx, will show rock musician Rudolf Schenker and boxing champ Dariusz Michalczewski how to handle an Amarok off-road. Windsurfers Bjoern Dunkerbeck, Klaas Voget and Robby Swift will instead try their hands at surfing the dunes of the Atacama desert.