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19 September 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Eric Camilli named as first driver to debut Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Following the recent announcement that the first 15 Polo GTI R5s have been presented to their new owners, Volkswagen Motorsport has named Eric Camilli as the first driver for the car’s competitive debut at Rally Spain, which runs from 25 to 28 October.

Significant role
Camilli is a World Rally Championship 2 (WRC 2) runner-up, and along with co-driver Benjamin Veillas, has played a significant role in the development of Volkswagen Motorsport’s new 270bhp customer sports racer. The Polo GTI R5’s debut in Spain will be its only works appearance before it enters competition with its new customer teams. Camilli and Veillas meanwhile, have clocked up 31 stage wins and three podium finishes, including a victory at Rally Germany.

Frenchman Camilli was delighted at his appointment: ‘When Sven Smeets and R5 project lead Jan de Jongh gave me the good news, it was a lovely, belated birthday present. I am proud to be part of the team at this premiere. After an intensive year of testing, it is great to be competing in the first rally with the Polo GTI R5 and I have plenty of motivation to do well. Ben and I will prepare diligently for Rally Spain and hopefully we will be able to start the R5 Polo on its career path with a good result.’

Eric Camilli

‘Experienced team’
‘Eric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas are an experienced team and did a valuable job during testing with the Polo GTI R5,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘It is the logical next step for them to take their WRC 2 experience into this competitive debut. Having Eric and Ben in the cockpit puts us in an excellent position.’ The driver and co-driver line-up for the second Polo GTI R5 will be announced at a later date, while the 15 new customer cars will be delivered from November.

The new GTI R5 isn’t the only Polo Camilli has experienced. The 31 year-old owned a fourth-generation version of the small Volkswagen as his second car. ‘My second car was a Polo, a used 2005 Polo IV Trendline with 63bhp, in silver,’ explained Camilli. ‘Volkswagens are such reliable cars. And I like the design.’

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘Impressive history’
As for the new four-wheel drive competition machine, Camilli/Veillas drove around one third of the 10,000 test kilometres. ‘The Polo GTI R5 has an impressive history and reacts very precisely when you are driving. I think that it is a very good R5 car – but we will only know for certain after Rally Spain in October and the first head-to-head comparison with the very strong competition,’ commented Camilli.

Rally Spain marks the return of Benjamin Veillas to Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover. When it was running the four-time world champion Polo R WRC, the 40 year-old Frenchman played a role in Sébastien Ogier’s spotter and weather crew. Veillas has been driving with Camilli since 2014’s Rally France event, and the duo have celebrated six podiums in the WRC 2 class and one best stage time in top-flight WRC so far.

ERIC CAMILLI PROFILE
Date/place of birth: 6 September 1987, Nice
Hobbies: Sport, especially running and trials

Career highlights
2017: 2nd place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2), 1 win
2016: 11th place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2014: 2nd place Volant Peugeot, 1 win

WRC 2 successes
17 rallies, six podiums (including one win), 31 stage wins, 144 championship points.

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06 September 2018 ~ 0 Comments

First fifteen Polo GTI R5 rally cars presented to customers

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

This week, Volkswagen Motorsport presented the first of its Polo GTI R5 customer rally cars to their new owners. Fifteen examples of the 270bhp production-based, four-wheel drive rally cars have been sold to privateer teams in Europe and South America, and the car will enjoy its competitive debut on Rally Spain, which starts on 25 October. A pair of cars are set compete.

The 15 GTI R5s Volkswagen Motorsport has already sold are heading to customers in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Paraguay, Portugal and Sweden. Volkswagen Motorsport presented the new rally car to customers before homologation. Representatives of the privateer teams visited the Volkswagen Motorsport headquarters in Hannover, where they experienced the car with test driver Dieter Depping at a test centre in nearby Sulingen.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘First-class result’
‘The Polo GTI R5 has completed 9,000 test kilometres to date, half of which were on gravel and half on asphalt,’ explained Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. ‘The entire development team has worked hard and delivered a first-class result, which has been confirmed by the initial reactions of customers.’

‘The feedback from this introductory session was extremely positive,’ explained Juliane Gründl, Head of Sales at Volkswagen Motorsport. ‘Almost all the teams already have definite plans in place for using the car in the 2019 rally season and cannot wait to get their hands on their Polo GTI R5.’

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

10,000 test kilometres
The homologation of the latest Volkswagen Motorsport rally machine is planned for 1 October 2018. Before being licensed for motorsport, the Polo GTI R5 will have completed around 10,000 test kilometres. In addition to the WRC2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship, the new customer racing rally car will also be in action in inter-regional championships such as the FIA European Rally Championship and other numerous national championships.

‘When defining the specification, we took great care to ensure it would be easy for professional privateer teams to master the technical support of the Polo GTI R5,’ said Jan-Gerard de Jongh, Technical Project Manager and former race engineer of World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

A mini-comeback
However, before the first customer cars are delivered, additional test drives are scheduled. On the car’s Rally Spain debut, it will take on its rivals in the WRC2 class at a world championship level for the first time. And for the Volkswagen Motorsport team, it will be a mini-comeback after the final WRC race in 2016, in Australia, where it announced plans to step down from the sport at a works level.

However, Volkswagen Motorsport will be taking care of the car at the debut. ‘We will compete at the Rally Spain with two cars, with the aim of demonstrating the competitiveness of the new Polo GTI R5 at the highest level and on different surfaces,’ explained Smeets.

All of us here at PoloDriver.com are looking forward to seeing what the new rallying Polo can do.

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05 September 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo remains the third most popular car in the UK

2018 Volkswagen Polo SEL 1.0 TSI 115 DSG (UK)

Following July’s rise up the UK’s most popular cars chart, the Volkswagen Polo remains the third most favoured car in the country according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). With 3,207 units registered, the Polo was again one place below its 4,180-unit-selling Golf sibling. Also in a repeat of July’s tallies, the Polo is number six in the year-to-date list, too, while Ford’s all-ruling Fiesta once again topped the monthly list, with 4,522 registrations.

New small car entries in the August’s registration chart included the Honda Jazz at number seven (1,490 units), and the eighth-placed Suzuki Swift (1,390 units). Year-on-year demand grew 23.1 per cent according to the SMMT, with 94,094 cars joining the UK’s road network, although the year-to-date total is down by 4.2 per cent.

Registrations of alternatively-fuelled cars which rose 88.7 per cent (7,489 units), to take an 8.0 per cent market share. Supermini small cars such as the Polo remained the most popular buy. The UK’s top 10 most popular cars during August 2018 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 4,552 (67,189, 1st)
2 Volkswagen Golf: 4,180 (49,692, 2nd)
3 Volkswagen Polo: 3,207 (29,081, 6th)
4 Ford Kuga: 1,902 (26,462, 8th)
5 BMW 3 Series: 1,847
6 SEAT Leon: 1,506
7 Honda Jazz: 1,490
8 Suzuki Swift: 1,390
9 Nissan Qashqai: 1,390 (34,910, 3rd)
10 Kia Sportage: 1,321

(The UK’s 2018 year-to-date top 10 most popular cars absent from August’s registration figures were the fourth-placed Ford Focus, the fifth-placed Vauxhall Corsa, the seventh-placed Mini, the ninth-placed Mercedes-Benz A Class and the tenth-placed Mercedes-Benz C Class with 34,045, 32,821, 29,945, 23,795 and 22,783 registrations respectively.)

2018 Volkswagen Polo Vivo GT

In South Africa, one of the Polo’s many manufacturing bases, the latest sixth-generation model was again the best-selling passenger car during August 2018, with 3,414 units entering the market. In a repeat of July, the Polo Vivo – now based on the 2010-2017 fifth-generation Polo – was the runner-up, with 1,900 examples registered.

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03 September 2018 ~ 1 Comment

First-generation Polo windscreen reproduced by Heritage Parts Centre

Heritage Parts Centre Volkswagen Polo Mk 1 windscreen seal

Long-standing and well-known Volkswagen parts supplier Heritage Parts Centre is now reproducing windscreen seals for the first-generation Polo and Audi 50. As the early cars now attract a growing following and original parts becoming rarer, Heritage is using an OE quality manufacturer to faithfully reproduce the front windscreen seal for chrome trim.

1977 Volkswagen Polo L

Priced at £44.95 and sold under part number 863-845-121/B, Heritage can also supply the correct and corresponding chrome trim, as well as the joining piece if required. For more details, call Heritage Parts Centre on 01273 444000, email sales@heritagepartscentre.com or visit heritagepartscentre.com.

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09 August 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Brazil announces Novo Polo and Virtus Beats models

2018 Volkswagen Brazil Novo Polo Beats

Following the success of the European versions, Volkswagen Brazil has launched ‘Beats’ editions of both the Novo Polo and its Virtus saloon sister, according to our friends at Indian Autos Blog. And just like the European cars, the new models feature signature red highlights as well as a 300-watt audio system.

Of course, the boosted audio upgrade is the big draw, and consists of an eight-channel digital amplifier, four speakers, two tweeters and a subwoofer. But, on the Novo Polo Beats at least, there’s also a smattering of Beats logos, red wing mirror caps, a Velvet Red dash panel and door trims, as well as special Beats door sill trims. In the photos seen here, both Novo Polo and Virtus Beats models are wearing 17-inch ‘Razor’ alloy wheels.

All Novo Polo Beats and Virtus models are powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbocharged TSI engine with 128bhp and 200Nm of torque – badged ‘200TSI’ – paired to a six-speed DSG semi-automatic gearbox. Available as an option on the Comfortline and Highline models only, the Novo Polo Beats is priced at an additional R$2,872 and R$2,278 respectively, while the special Virtus editions cost an extra R$2,083 and R$2,050 depending on trim.

[Source: Indian Autos Blog]

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