Archive | Motorsport

04 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Lindholm and Korhonen take Polo GTI R5 to second place at Itärally

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Itärally, Lindholm/Korhonen

The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 continued its winning ways at Finland’s Itärally on 2 March. Driver Emil Lindholm and co-driver Mikael Korhonen claimed their second R5 class win in the 2019 Finnish Rally Championship, holding the overall lead for much of the event. The 10th win for the new Volkswagen Motorsport customer sports rally car, the third round of the series was held around Joensuu in east Finland.

The duo lost out to Takamoto Katusta and Daniel Barritt after six stages. The Japanese and Great British pairing finished only 0.8 seconds ahead in their Toyota Yaris WRC. Even though they weren’t victorious, Lindholm was pleased with his and Korhonen’s performance: ‘It was more important for us to get the class win, so I did not want to take any risks on the final few kilometres. There was a lot of snow on the roads and the conditions were extremely difficult.

‘I just wanted to avoid making any mistakes – I think that was the right decision. There is no shame in missing out to a WRC works car by such a small margin,’ he continued.

After three of seven rounds in this season’s Finnish Rally Championship, Lindholm is currently second in his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. Victorious in the season-opening Arctic Lapland Rally, Lindholm missed the second event, as he was competing in Rally Sweden. The 2019 Finnish Rally Championship will now take a spring break, resuming with the Riihimäki Rally on 24-25 May.

Polo GTI R5 for Kajetanowicz and Szczepaniak

Elsewhere, Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Maciej Szczepaniak from Poland have committed to running a LOTOS Rally Team-branded Polo GTI R5 in the 2019 WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship. Kajetanowicz, a 39-year-old, three-time European champion drove a handful of WRC 2 events during 2018, but will contest seven events this year.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak

His and Szczepaniak’s machine will be run by Raimund Baumschlager’s Baumschlager Rallye & Racing (BRR) of Austria, which has also announced a Polo GTI R5 for German rally champion Marijan Griebel. The Polo GTI R5 of Kajetanowicz / Szczepaniak will debut at Corsica Linea – Tour de Corse on 28-31 March; Grebel’s car will first appear a week earlier at the Portuguese Azores Rally on 21-23 March.

2019 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Rostek/Christian

In other news, Polo GTI R5 rally machines have also been confirmed for Vojtĕch Štajf (Czech Republic), Dennis Rostek and Frank Christian (Germany, BMA Autosport), Pedro Meireles and Mário Castro, as well as Gustavo Saba and Fernando Mussano (Paraguay) who debuted their car on the 2019 Tierra Colorada Rally at Misiones in Argentina.

All 50 Polo GTI R5 for 2019 have been sold

Volkswagen Motorsport has also confirmed that all 50 Polo GTI R5s the outfit will build in 2019 have been sold. Reported by motor.es, Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets told Rallye-Magazin: ‘We will build about 50 vehicles until the end of the year and they are all reserved. We are also in contact with our customers and we appreciate their comments to improve the car. It was clear that the Polo GTI R5 was very good on dry asphalt, but in wet conditions we can still improve.’




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18 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Johan Kristoffersson to drive Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at 2019 Rally Sweden

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Johan Kristoffersson

Following Baumschlager Rallye & Racing’s (BRR) customer debut of the new Polo GTI R5 on the Prague Rally Sprint, another two teams have now received their cars. And one of them will be very familiar… World Rallycross Champion and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R driver Johan Kristoffersson will pilot the Kristoffersson Motorsport GTI R5 in the WRC 2 class at Rally Sweden from 14-17 February 2019.

A special delivery just in time for Christmas, Kristoffersson Motorsport’s Arvika workshops have received Polo GTI R5 number eight from the first batch of 15 cars. It will run the 270bhp machine under the Volkswagen Dealer Team Bauhaus banner. Johan Kristoffersson’s 2019 start will be his third time tackling the Swedish event. With news that the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden world rallycross team will be ‘paused’ and not contest the 2019 series, the two-time champion will also be lining up for the start of the SM Sprint in Sundsvall on 1 February.

‘Ever since Volkswagen declared that it would be possible to get a Polo GTI R5, it has been legitimate in our planning. It is in line with what VW does. There is a lot of interest in rallying among people, the dealership and our other partners,’ declared team manager Tommy Kristoffersson. ‘We have no definite programme yet, but are waiting to see how John’s international commitments look before 2019, but the rally initiative is rooted in our heavy partners, Volkswagen and Bauhaus,’ he continued.

‘Amazing and unique’
‘We have worked in rallycross, circuit racing and now rallying, which becomes a new part of the Kristoffersson Motorsport brand. It is amazing and unique to work with the same manufacturer and Johan in three different disciplines. Johan, is also a genuine VW product since the beginning of his career. Everyone in the workshop is enthusiastic. Rally is close to the hearts of several of our mechanics,’ said Kristoffersson.

A second Polo GTI R5 is expected to arrive with the team in 2019 to further inspire the team, and the pair of cars will be out hunting for wins, even when Johan Kristoffersson isn’t around.

‘Great interest’
Sten Forsberg, Head of Volkswagen Sweden, also focuses on the positives with the new car and its Swedish team: ‘Following the success of Polo in rallycross and Golf in circuit racing, VW Motorsport has now built the Polo GTI R5 which has attracted great interest among global rally fans. We are looking forward to how World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson and the Polo GTI R5 will perform next year.’

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen

OTHER POLO GTI R5 ACTIVITY
In other Polo GTI R5 news, Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen have taken delivery of a Polo GTI R5 with which they will tackle the 2019 Finnish Rally Championship plus two rounds of WRC 2 (Rally Sweden and Rally Finland). The car’s first outing will be the Arctic Lapland Rally from 24-26 January 2019. On 9 December 2018, the very blue HK Racing Polo GTI R5 of Alessandro Re and Fulvio Florean finished second in class at the Monza Rally Sprint.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5: HK Racing (Image: Monza Eni Circuit)

It has also been announced that another example of the new four-wheel drive Polo rally car will contest the Ice Race at Zell am See from 19-20 January 2019. In all intents and purposes a further Polo GTI R5 works outing, the new customer-focused rally Polo will line up with a pair of motorsport-themed Mk 2 Golfs on the ice. Both the 1986 Group A Golf and the 1987 Pikes Peak twin-engined challenger will be in attendance and the legendary Volkswagen works driver line-up includes Romain Dumas (Pikes Peak 2018) and Klaus-Joachim ‘Jochi’ Kleint (Pikes Peak 1987).

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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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