Archive | Motorsport

03 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Fifth place for Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Polo GTI R5 at Prague Rally Sprint

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Prague Rally Sprint

The new Polo GTI R5 followed up on its podium place on the 2018 Rally Spain with a fifth place finish at the 2018 Prague Rally Sprint. Vojtěch Štajf / Karel Janeček just missed out on victory in the number 21 Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR) car.

The first customer-run Polo GTI R5 in competition – which was only handed over to the Austrian team last week – crossed the line just 6.1 seconds behind the winners Martin Koči and Radovan Mozner Jr in their Škoda Fabia R5. Štajf and Janeček were leading by over 13 seconds going into the final stage, and looked set to take the first non-works Polo GTI R5 win. However, the duo sadly clipped a kerb, which cost them time.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Prague Rally Sprint

A first stage win was also on the cards, too, on stage four, at 10.86kms the longest of the event. The Czech pairing finished just four tenths of a second off the leading time. The Prague Rally Sprint was the first competitive outing for a Polo GTI R5 in customer hands. The 270bhp four-wheel drive machine had previously demonstrated its speed on gravel and tarmac at the Rally Spain in October, where both the crews of Petter Solberg / Veronica Engan and Eric Camilli / Benjamin Veillas both won special stages.

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25 November 2018 ~ 0 Comments

First Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 delivered to Baumschlager Rallye & Racing

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

The first customer Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 rally car to emerge from Volkswagen Motorsport’s Hannover workshops has been handed over to its new owner. Car number one has gone to Baumschlager Rallye & Racing, owned by Raimund Baumschlager. The 59 year-old Austrian rally champion helped with the development of the 270bhp Polo GTI R5, and has campaigned an ex-works Polo R WRC in national rally championships.

Baumschlager and his team intends to focus on the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) with its Polo GTI R5. The 2019 ERC consists of eight rounds, and the R5 class forms the top category in the series. The class is also mandatory in the U28 competition. The first outing for Baumschlager’s car will be at the Prague Rallysprint (Pražský Rallysprint) on 1 December.

Another Polo GTI R5 was handed over to the Italian HK Racing team Italy, who will run the new car at the Monza Rally Show from 7-9 December, with cars for Belgian teams Bernard Munster Autosport and THX Racing arriving in the last week of November. Seven more Polo GTI R5 are scheduled to be delivered to customers in, Finland, Paraguay, Portugal and Sweden by the end of 2018.

Two different chassis
The ERC is held on both tarmac and gravel surfaces, so Baumschlager’s Polo was ordered with the components necessary for two chassis set-ups. ‘Two Polo GTI R5 are already earmarked for the ERC. We have a handful of interested parties for the third car,’ said Baumschlager. ‘We have had many enquiries from customers who enjoy a close association with VW and are very pleased that it is now also offering a rally car,’ added the 14-time Austrian rally champion.

The four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 is a customer sports rally car developed by Volkswagen Motorsport for the R5 class. The R5 cars are relatively close to their production counterparts, and are approved in the WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship, but they also represent the highest class in selected regional and national championships.

‘Start of a new chapter’
‘The Polo GTI R5 rally car heralds the start of a new chapter for Volkswagen Motorsport,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘After the homologation by the FIA and the successful competitive debut in Spain – complete with a podium result for Petter Solberg – the delivery of the first car to a customer marks the next major milestone.’

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

The production and distribution of between 30 and 40 Polo GTI R5s a year is planned from 2019. Juliane Gründl, Head of Sales at Volkswagen Motorsport, said: ‘The handing over of the first Polo GTI R5 takes the new customer sport project at Volkswagen Motorsport into the next phase. We currently working hard on the production of more cars, as well as the logistics required to distribute spare parts all over the world are also in place.’

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30 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

World class: ‘strong debut’ for Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rally Spain: Camilli/Veillas

Volkswagen Motorsport described the first – and only – works outing for its new Polo GTI R5 rally car as a ‘strong debut’. Petter Solberg took a third place podium finish at the 2018 Rally Spain, while Eric Camilli led the WRC 2 category for much of the event before a defect in the gearshift linkage dashed hopes of a Volkswagen victory.

The new 270bhp four-wheel drive customer sports machine made a good impression on the Spanish gravel and tarmac event and proved it was competitive to other more long-standing rivals. That’s good news for the eight customers who have so far placed orders for the €190,000 (tarmac-spec price) WRC 2 weapon. The first cars will be delivered to their international teams over the coming weeks.

Best time
The Polo GTI R5 was impressive from the off in Spain, and scored a best time on the first special stage, a feat shared by its top-flight Polo R WRC predecessor on its debut in 2013. Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas initially took the WRC 2 class lead, but on the second day, when the action switched to tarmac, the pair opted for a hard tyre choice and forfeited their lead, only to be chasing for it again later in the day.

With just three tenths of a second between the Frenchmen and the eventual winners Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen, a defect in the shift linkage cost Camilli and Veillas their hopes of victory. However, on their return under Rally 2 regulations on day three, the Polo pair secured more best times, including that of the special stage on the revered ‘Riudecanyes’ section.

‘Very proud’
Camilli was upbeat, despite his day two retirement: ‘There’s one thing I’d like to say first, because it’s very important to me: I enjoyed every single minute in the Polo GTI R5 this weekend, it’s so much fun driving the car. We wanted to show that the Polo is fast in all conditions – I think that we demonstrated that with best times on gravel and tarmac. With a little bit more luck Benjamin and I could have celebrated a better result, possibly even the class win. I am very proud that I was privileged to be part of this special debut.’

Elsewhere, in car number 49, Solberg and co-driver Veronica Engan caused a stir with the best time on the most challenging and longest gravel stage of the rally on their return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) after six years away, and finished the event in a strong third position.

Ex-WRC champion Solberg was delighted: ‘What a fantastic result after six years away! It was not an easy task with just two days of testing and totally new pace notes. Which is why I am very proud of what Veronica and I achieved. A podium result on the debut – things couldn’t have gone much better.

‘We avoided all risks, and always looked for a clean line. With a little bit more of an attack, no doubt we could have come away with more. But the most important thing is that I had an incredible amount of fun in the car, and when you finish on the podium with champagne, you start to mull things over. A quick word about Sébastien Loeb: it was simply fantastic what he did here. Congratulations on his exceptional win!’ he commented.

‘Strong debut’
Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director was happy, too. ‘We are really pleased with the Polo GTI R5’s debut and I think that we have completed our mission. Petter and Eric delivered top performances in very difficult conditions and helped the Polo GTI R5 make a strong debut, with both drivers getting best times.’

‘Leading the first rally ahead of strong competition and winning special stages on different surfaces is a clear sign that the new Polo GTI R5 is extremely competitive. At the same time, we know that the car has even more potential,’ Smeets disclosed.

‘The pace of the new Polo GTI R5 was good from the start,’ said Gerard-Jan de Jongh, Technical Project Lead for the Polo GTI R5. ‘Eric Camilli and Petter Solberg demonstrated that the car is competitive and fast in all conditions and with both drivers. However, a competition like the Rally Spain is always different from testing – which is why a minor defect had a major impact. But the problem with the shift linkage is an easy one to solve and eliminate before the car is delivered to customers,’ de Jongh assured.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rally Spain: Camilli/Veillas

Prospective Polo GTI R5 customers had the chance to view the car in the Rally Spain service park – especially during the transformation from gravel to tarmac spec which involved the switching of 1,025 parts in just 75 minutes – and there looks to be a number added to the 15 cars already sold. Due to be delivered by the end of the year, the first Polo GTI R5s are heading to teams in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Paraguay and Sweden. The cars are being made at Volkswagen Motorsport’s Hannover base and the Ikarusallee crew has a goal to produce 30 to 40 Polo GTI R5s in 2019.

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05 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Motorsport reveals final look and livery for Polo GTI R5

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Twenty days before it makes its competitive debut on the Rally Spain, Volkswagen Motorsport has pulled the covers off the livery which will adorn the new Polo GTI R5. Borrowing a style seen on the Golf GTI TCR touring car – also a Volkswagen customer sports racer – the Polo GTI R5’s optical style incorporates many of the typical ‘GTI’ branding motifs, including a red, white and black colour scheme, as well as the now traditional ‘honeycomb’ elements.

Typically, as is the standard in motorsport, the latest rally Polo’s striking look was applied as a film. ‘The Polo GTI R5 looks really exciting,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. Nico Mühr, Exterior Design Volkswagen, commented: ‘We purposely used many of the design elements from the production vehicles of the GTI family for the Polo GTI R5.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘Distinctive look’
‘In addition to the typical colours of red, white, black and the line on the front grille, it is the GTI icons with their honeycomb structure in particular that give the new rally Polo its distinctive look. Ultimately, the Polo GTI R5, despite its extreme rally look, remains clearly identifiable as – no doubt the fastest – member of the Polo family,’ he stated.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

The first Polo GTI R5s will be delivered to their new customer team owners in November. What they will take delivery of is a 270bhp, four-wheel drive machine, which can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 4.1 seconds. Powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine, and weighing 1,230kg, the new stage-munching Polo has a 20-month development period behind it, which includes over 10,000 test kilometres in a range of climates.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

This thoroughness is due in part to the regulations. ‘Only minimal technical modifications are allowed to be made to an R5 during the specified motorsport lifetime of five years,’ explained Gerard Jan de Jongh, Technical Project Lead Polo GTI R5. ‘This is why we prepared ourselves as well and thoroughly as possible.’ Rally aces Eric Camilli and Petter Solberg have been confirmed as the drivers that will pilot the Polo GTI R5 on its Rally Spain debut, which starts on 25 October.

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21 September 2018 ~ 0 Comments

WRC comeback: Petter Solberg to pilot Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

After the naming of Eric Camilli as the first Polo GTI R5 driver for the car’s sole official works outing at Rally Spain, former World Rally Championship (WRC) winner Petter Solberg has been revealed as the brand-new motorsport Polo’s second pilot for the Catalonian event.

Perhaps not a total surprise, Norwegian Solberg has enjoyed links with Volkswagen Motorsport since 2017 when the Hanover-based outfit agreed to lend support to his PSRX Volkswagen Sweden squad which competes in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. A winning team, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden has been crowned team champion again in 2018, with Solberg’s co-driver Johan Kristoffersson taking the individual spoils once again, after last year’s success.

2003 world rally champion
The Rally Spain was Solberg’s last full WRC outing, and he will drive the event with co-driver Veronica Engan in the WRC2 class, for which the Polo GTI R5 has been specially designed. Solberg was rally world champion in 2003 before exiting the sport in 2012, and this year’s Rally Spain will play host to three world champions, as Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier will join Solberg and the new customer motorsports Polo on the starting line on 25 October.

‘The opportunity to make a WRC comeback with Volkswagen is a unique one, and I was very happy to accept the offer,’ said Solberg. ‘When I drove the car in January in Sweden, I didn’t want to stop. Everything about the Polo GTI R5 worked from the very beginning. I am really looking forward to the Rally Spain, and to be in the car for the very first time is a real privilege for
me.

‘I always used to like the combination of gravel and asphalt. It will obviously be a special feeling to return to the place I brought the curtain down on my rally career back in 2012. It will be a fantastic reunion with the WRC family, but one with a professional background. I obviously want to get the R5 Polo off to a good start with a good result,’ he continued.

Petter Solberg

‘A true rally hero’
Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets said: ‘Petter is a true rally hero. We have already experienced his passion and professionalism working alongside him in World Rallycross. Petter always gives 110 per cent, and he has tested the Polo GTI R5 and has always been one of our preferred candidates for the debut of our new car. It is fantastic that he will drive the R5 Polo in Spain, and everyone is looking forward to the rally and to working with Petter and his team-mate Eric Camilli.’

Over 14 years between 1998 and 2012, Solberg made 188 WRC appearances. He has driven for teams including Citroën, Ford, Toyota, and perhaps most famously, Subaru, with whom he scored his world championship title in 2003, ahead of rally legends Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz. The last Nordic world rally champion, Solberg drove for his own team from 2009 to 2011, and returned to Ford in 2012 as a works driver.

His stats are impressive, clocking up 52 podium results, with 13 of them being rally wins, alongside 457 stage wins and a total of 852 points. The 2018 Rally Spain is the Norwegian’s first WRC event with Volkswagen. After the switch from WRC to the World Rallycross Championship (WRX), the 43 year-old won the drivers’ title in both 2014 and 2015, with Volkswagen Motorsport and Solberg’s PSRX team partnership arriving at the start of 2017.

Successful from the off, the squad took the team title and was behind the 2017 world champion, Johan Kristoffersson, in its first year. Volkswagen Motorsport is responsible for the development and technical preparation of the two Polo R Supercars (which are ex-Volkswagen Motorsport, WRC-prepared Polos), while PSRX Volkswagen Sweden looks after the logistics, on-site running of the car, and marketing. Solberg meanwhile remains the only driver to have won the drivers’ title in two different FIA world championships.

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