Archive | 2017 FIA World Rally Championship

09 February 2017 ~ 0 Comments

FIA prohibits complete homologation of 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

It’s now official. This week, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) ruled that the 2017-specification Volkswagen Polo R WRC will not be eligible to compete in any of the events in the 2017 World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar.

Missed deadline
The ruling was given by officials on Tuesday 7 February, after consulting with other manufacturer teams in the series. The 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC was close to homologation completion, but missed the 1 January deadline, reports Autosport.

Volkswagen Motorsport had planned to offer the completely homologated car to private teams in this year’s WRC. Almost all the necessary homologation work had been completed by the German outfit, with hopes that the 2017-spec machine would be allowed through on a waiver.

However, after several discussions, that now will not happen. 

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets, told wrc.com: ‘Following customer enquiries, Volkswagen Motorsport asked the FIA for a waiver of the homologation of the 2017 Volkswagen Polo World Rally Car, with the purpose being to rent it out to private drivers and teams.

‘Constructive discussions’
‘It now turns out that this is not possible under the current WRC regulations. We fully accept the result, but at the same time regret it in the interests of our customers. We would like to thank the FIA for the very constructive discussions.’

Plans to offer private customers and teams the ex-championship winning 2016-specification Volkswagen Polo R WRC are still underway. Volkswagen Motorsport surprisingly pulled the plug on its World Rally Championship team in November 2016 after four seasons of domination.

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20 August 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Ouninpohja duel: 318bhp Polo R WRC vs 1000bhp Kamaz 4326 Dakar Rally truck

2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC vs Kamaz 4326 on Ouninpohja

Remember the Steven Spielberg-directed film Duel from 1971, where a truck with seemingly no driver hunts down Dennis Weaver? Volkswagen and Red Bull do – in a new promotional video, the 318bhp Polo R WRC of Jari-Matti Latvala gets hunted down through the legendary ‘Ouninpohja’ stage of Rally Finland by Dakar Rally winner Ayrat Mardeev in a Kamaz 4326 truck with 1000bhp.

The pair met when Rally Finland was tearing through the stages in July 2016, and the resulting just-over-one-minute clip is spectacular to say the least. The sight of the 10-tonne rally-prepared truck hurtling up to and jumping over Ouninpohja’s numerous crests is fabulous joy to behold, with Latvala’s four-wheel drive, 1.6-litre turbocharged Polo dancing though the stage to equally bewildering and awesome effect.

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13 April 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Motorsport reveal look and technology of 2017 Polo R WRC

2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC (illustration)

With the introduction of new World Rally Championship (WRC) technical regulations for 2017, the championship-winning Polo R WRC may age about to get even more dominant. The FIA Motor Sport Council want to make the next generation of rally cars faster, wider, more aggressive in appearance, but safer, too. The new, more powerful machines will debut next year.

380bhp, enlarged air restrictor
Volkswagen Motorsport has released this teaser image of how the new-for-2017 Polo R WRC could look (the final appearance may differ) as well as a few technical details about its new rally challenger. The 2017 Polo WRC will have around 380bhp (280kW) – up from today’s 318bhp – thanks to the enlargement of the engine’s air restrictor from 33mm to 36mm.

An electronically controlled centre differential will make a return on next year’s cars, while boost pressure will run at a maximum of 2.5 bar. The minimum length of the new cars is now 3,900 millimetres, while the minimum weight is reduced from 1,200 to 1,175 kilograms, around 25kg lighter than the current Polo R WRC.

More aerodynamic freedom
The 2017 Polo R WRC will draw upon the aggressive look of its two previous generations, and be even wilder. The FIA’s new regulations allow for more aerodynamic freedom and a ‘free zone defined around the body shell of the production car’ to create a maximum width of 1,875mm. The third-generation Polo R WRC is 50mm wider than its predecessors.

The most visually striking changes are the larger rear wing and broader front spoiler. The car in the illustration released by Volkswagen Motorsport also gets bumper air scoops in the style of VW’s all-electric ‘e’ models. The new regulations also allow for greater overhang front and rear: ‘[There is] greater freedom on the lateral parts of the front bumper, with potential for additional aero devices ahead of the front wheels.’ The larger rear wing will aid downforce.

‘Crucial phase’
Volkswagen Motorsport has been developing the next-generation Polo rally car since summer 2015, with key components having been tested in the current car’s chassis at locations in Europe, most notably the south of France. The Hannover-based outfit says that testing is now entering ‘a crucial phase’. We also believe it to be the final phase of development.

Outgoing Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito said: ‘‘The 2017 WRC regulations include many spectacular technical innovations for the World Rally Championship. The World Rally cars of the future will incorporate all the experience that teams have gained in recent years.

‘They will be considerably more dynamic, while at the same time being safer. As usual, we are working painstakingly on the development of the next generation of the Polo R WRC. The key between now and the start of next season is to achieve the best possible prerequisites to allow the 2017 Polo R WRC to be as successful as its two predecessors.’

No pressure then.

Volkswagen Motorsport currently tops the standings in all of the classifications in this year’s World Rally Championship, having won the first three rallies of the season. The team from Wolfsburg’s next outing is the fourth WRC round of the year – the Rally Argentina (21-24 April 2016). It can only hope the 2017 Polo R WRC continues the championship-winning tradition.

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