Volkswagen's stylish Amarok mid-sized truck has been crowned the official support vehicle of the famous Dakar Rally that's set to kick off next New Year's Day in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A total of 35 Amaroks are slated for duty as press and VIP shuttles, as well as officials' work trucks. Four trucks will be outfitted with extra rugged off-road packages. Their assignment to the 9000 km long Dakar Rally also means plenty of VW engineers will be on hand to test the truck in a variety of the world's most extreme environments.

VW's new truck will be built and initially sold in South America beginning in mid-to-late 2010.

The 31st running of the Dakar Rally begins and finishes in Buenos Aires and travels North through Chile before the end on January 17th. In 2008, the race was cancelled due to terrorist threats in Africa. Last year's race was moved to South American in response to further safety concerns. Organizers hope to return the race to the African continent by 2012.

Not many details are known regarding the Amarok, but we recently spotted some prototypes running around the Nurburgring wearing little disguise. Expect more images and details to arise in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Source: Volkswagen