Archive | Motorsport

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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26 April 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 set for competitive debut at 2018 Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Volkswagen Motorsport has announced that the new Polo GTI R5 rally car will mark its competitive arrival at the 25-28 October 2018 Rally Spain, two months after its anticipated debut at the German round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). A longer testing period to make sure the car is fully developed is the reason given for the delay.

One of the most diverse rallies in the calendar, Rally Spain features a mix of both asphalt and gravel surfaces, with teams given just 75 minutes to change the whole specification of the car. For Volkswagen Motorsport, though, the Catalonian round holds other appeal: the Spanish event is where it won its first WRC Manufacturers’ Championship with the Polo R WRC in 2013, and the same car claimed the top spot at each of the four occasions it contested the rally.

‘First really tough test’
‘The Rally Spain is a very happy stomping ground for us,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘We celebrated our first world championship title here. You simply don’t forget moments like that. With its varying surfaces, the Rally Spain is obviously also excellently suited to a first really tough test under competitive conditions,’ he continued.

‘The tests have gone well. The drivers who have tested the Polo GTI R5 have given very positive feedback,’ said Smeets. ‘Despite this, we still want to change a few things before the car is finally homologated on 1 October.’

‘Fully-developed and fast’
Gerard Jan de Jongh, Technical Project Lead for Polo GTI R5 and world champion Sébastien Ogier’s former race engineer, added: ‘A customer sport car must almost be developed even more thoroughly than a World Rally Car for a works team. Once the car has been successfully homologated, a customer often does not have the opportunity to make any changes or test the car thoroughly. For this reason, we are taking the time to ensure that we supply our customers with a fully-developed and fast Polo GTI R5.’

The 272bhp, four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 is the latest in a long line of Volkswagen Motorsport rally cars, the most successful being the Polo R WRC which collected 12 titles, 43 of a possible 52 wins, and 640 stage victories. The Polo GTI R5 is focused on customer sport, and is aimed at drivers in the WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship as well as European and national rally series.

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29 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

An icy inquest: Petter Solberg tests 2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in Sweden

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Volkswagen Motorsport’s new rally weapon, the Polo GTI R5 has taken to the roads again. This time the frozen tracks of Sweden provided the new 272bhp rally machine with a stern test, the car out through its paces by no fewer than three world champions: World Rallycross Polo RX pilot Petter Solberg, 2000 and 2002 title holder Marcus Grönholm and junior and WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand.

The latest four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 assessment took place near the town of Kall, north-west of Östersund. Temperatures were as low as -15 degrees Celsius on the 4km-long route. Solberg had Veronica Engan – who usually reads pace notes for his son Oliver – relaying back the route commands.

‘Fantastic to drive’
Solberg was impressed by the new car: ‘It was just fantastic to be back behind the wheel of a rally car again and to help out the Volkswagen family. It was a really fun day. The team has done such a great job and the car is fantastic to drive. I didn’t want to get out at the end of the day!

‘We covered almost 300 kilometres in one day – very different to what I’m used to in the World Rallycross Championship, but I used my extensive rallying experience to work with the engineers on small changes to the car,’ the Norwegian rallycross and rally star added.

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25 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

New Polo GTI chosen as basis for 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup circuit racer

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

On the same day the sixth-generation model is launched in South Africa, today the wraps have been taken off the latest racing Volkswagen Polo which will contest the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup. The first circuit racing version of the all-new Polo, the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup car is based on the GTI model, which will arrive in South Africa later this year.

‘Push to Pass’ system
Carrying the same ‘Beware the Confidence’ tagline as the standard car’s launch materials, the Engen Volkswagen Cup GTI has a 2.0-litre, 197bhp four-cylinder turbocharged engine which produces 251lb ft / 340Nm of torque at 1 bar of boost. There is also a new ‘Push to Pass’ system which releases another 23bhp for 10 seconds, similar to that seen on the 2012 Scirocco R-Cup cars.

In a difference to the intial batch of European road cars, the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTIs have a six-speed manual ‘MQ350’ gearbox, taken from the latest Golf GTI. Locally-sourced SAX shock absorbers sit suspend the standard Polo’s five-door body, while the car sits on coil springs front and rear, and rides on Dunlop semi-slick tyres.

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

‘Most successful racing formula’
Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa said: ‘Volkswagen Motorsport would like to thank Engen for their on-going sponsorship and commitment to what we see as South Africa’s most successful racing formula as well as the competitors who have the confidence in the series to make the change to the all-new car.’

Those 24 competitors will contest a total of eight rounds in 2018, the 22nd year the Polo-based Engen Volkswagen Cup has been run. ‘We are very excited for the start of the 2018 racing season,’ continued Mike Rowe. ‘I am sure that all the Engen Volkswagen Cup competitors are raring to go.’

‘The series, which has become known as the School of Champions, is a special one in South Africa and has crowned a total of 16 different national champions. It also an immensely competitive one as only five people have managed to win it more than once,’ he added.

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

GTI badge debut
The closely-fought Engen Volkswagen Cup series is a one-make series where performance is kept equal to provide entertaining motor racing. Teams are only permitted to adjust the chassis set-up and tyre pressures, while the engine power is also limited. The 2018 season sees the ‘GTI’ badge make its debut on a South African Polo Cup racer in the series’ two-decade history.

The 2018 South African circuit racing season starts on 24 March, when a comprehensive field of more than 24 young Polo drivers aged 15 to 27 line up for the start of the 2018 Engen Polo Cup at the Kyalami race track in Johannesburg.

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