Archive | Polo GTI R5

15 July 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Polo GTI R5 results round-up: Černý and Černohorský take fifth place at Rally Bohemia 2020

It was a busy weekend for the Polo GTI R5 at the 47th Rally Bohemia which took place between 10-12 July. Three crews piloted 270bhp Volkswagen Polo GTI R5s at the Czech Republic event, the four-wheel drive rally cars driven by Jan Černý/Petr Černohorský, Tomasz Kasperczyk/Damian Syty and Vojtěch Štajf/František Rajnoha. Černý and Černohorský finished fifth against a host of strong and WRC-experienced competitors. Štajf and Rajnoha’s Polo came home ninth, and Kasperczyk and Syty’s VW crossed the line eleventh.

In Italy, Corrado (a very apt Volkswagen name reference!) Pinzano and Marco Zegna finished second overall at the Rally Lana 2020 in their strikingly liveried Polo GTI R5. Marco Gianesini and Marco Bergonzi’s Polo GTI R5 was sixth, and the VW of Marasso Massimo and Pieri Luca was 12 places behind them. Sadly, Ivan and Marina Carmellino’s GTI R5 crashed out on the Curino 1 stage.

Ferenc Kiss and his son Ferenc Kiss Jr were busy with back-to-back events in their rallying Polo. Third at the Bakonya Rallye in Hungary on 5 July, the pair completed the AMTK Rally Velenje 2020 in Slovenia the following weekend in fifth place. Further down the field, Peljhan Darko and Čar Matej’s fifth-generation Volkswagen Polo RN4 crossed the line eighteenth.

Czech duo Jaroslav Melichárek and Martin Tureček performed well at the MRC Kopřivnice 2020 event held on 4-5 July. The pair won five out of six special stages in their Polo GTI R5. A 10-second time penalty meant they missed the overall win by 0.8 seconds, finishing second. Finally, in June, Kacper Wróblewski and Jakub Wróbel won the Rally Ireco Motorsport in Poland ahead of their compatriots Tomasz Kasperczyk/Damian Syty, while Vojtěch Štajf/František Rajnoha finished the Test-Rally Sosnová 2020 in second place.

[Images: Volkswagen Motorsport]

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10 June 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Oliver Solberg opens the door to victory at Rally Sweden Lockdown

Day-to-day life has changed immeasurably under the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and motorsport has seen a continual cancellation or postponement of events, with calendars notably shortened. No clear indication of when races will restart has left fans and drivers in limbo, but there are signs of a slow resurgence. Oliver Solberg, son of 2003 World Rally Champion Petter, won the maiden Rally Sweden Lockdown event, held in the afternoon of Sunday 7 June.

Co-driven by his mum Pernilla, 18-year-old Solberg Junior placed his Polo GTI R5 first ahead of some of the biggest names in Swedish motorsport at the Torsby-based event, the first real-life outing for the youngster and his VW since Rally Mexico back in March. The Torsby Sprint test – made famous because of its use at the end of Rally Sweden’s Power Stage – event was streamed live by broadcaster SVT1 with additional footage on WRC+.

Stringent regulations
Run under some of the most stringent regulations ever, with social distancing and coronavirus awareness at the forefront of everybody’s minds, the event was praised by officials for getting the sport up and running again. To keep everyone safe, the event was run behind ‘closed doors’ with no spectators permitted.

Young Solberg edged ahead of his former WRC 2 and Asia Pacific Rally Championship-winning cousin Pontus Tidemand by 1.2 seconds over the 2.6km stage, his Monster Energy-backed Polo GTI R5 also beating 2016 World Rallycross champion Mattias Ekström. Pernilla played her part in the victory by calling the pacenotes, the first time the mum-and-son team have competed together.

But, much as Oliver and Pernilla were delighted with their debut victory, they were both even happier to be competing again, and very, very grateful to the organising team who pulled the event together in some of the strangest circumstances in history.

‘A really tight fight’
‘It was a really tight fight at the end,’ said Oliver, ‘but to win is something special for me and my mum. It’s been a long time out of the car and I want to say a very big thanks to everybody who made this happen – the organisers and, of course, SVT for the television coverage. They have done an amazing job. It’s easy to sit at home and think: “I wish we could go rallying again…” but these guys stood up and made it happen. Thank you.

‘To drive behind these Monster Energy colours again was fantastic. It was great fun. The road was pretty rough in the end and that was tricky because we were having to push hard to stay ahead of Pontus. The competition has been amazing and so much fun!’ he exclaimed.

The lockdown event saw Pernilla maintain her outstanding Swedish record of success, having won four from the last five Rally Sweden Historics. ‘This was the first time I co-drove for Oliver, and I have to say, I was very impressed with how he listened and committed to the notes. Like Oliver said, we have to thank so many people for their efforts today. Of course SVT and the organisers, but also all the marshals and the Torsby community for making this happen and pulling this amazing Sunday afternoon off,’ she said.

‘I’m so proud to be Oliver’s mum today. He was fantastic and driving really, really well. ‘Now we want to look forward to the second half of the 2020 rallying season and hope we have more events to come. Rally Sweden Lockdown has been fantastic, but I hope this is the only time we need to run an event like this!”

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24 April 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Pirelli named official exclusive tyre supplier for the Polo GTI R5

Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli has been appointed as official exclusive supplier to the Polo GTI R5. Volkswagen Motorsport states that from 2020, its customer sports rally car will be delivered exclusively with Pirelli competition tyres, and that its new partner will also now supply the car’s rubber for testing sessions.

Since the start of the year, the 270bhp four-wheel drive rallying Polo has been fitted with 235/40 R18 (size 20/65 18) asphalt Pirelli rubber. Official fitments will now be the P Zero RA for asphalt surfaces – in hard, medium, soft and supersoft compounds – the Scorpion K for gravel, and the Sottozero Ice and Sottozero Snow for events in winter conditions.

‘Great success in rallying’
‘We are delighted to welcome Pirelli as an official supplier of the Volkswagen customer rallying project,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets. ‘Pirelli is synonymous with great success in rallying and is very prevalent in international and national series held in accordance with R5 regulations. This way, our customers receive top-class and extremely successful tyre technology with the delivery of their Polo GTI R5.’

‘The technology contained within our rally tyres is born from a long experience at the top of motorsport,’ said Terenzio Testoni, Pirelli’s rally activity manager. ‘Our latest collaboration with Volkswagen on the Polo GTI R5 highlights the close collaboration that Pirelli enjoys with the world’s leading car makers to develop the best possible interaction between cars and tyres, delivering maximum performance in competition.’

A celebrated partnership
Since its debut at the 2018 Rally Spain, the Polo GTI R5 has celebrated four titles, 75 overall victories and class wins, as well as 150 podium results in the hands of customer teams. Fifty cars were delivered up to the end of 2019. Volkswagen’s motorsport association with Pirelli dates back as far as 1976, when the Italian tyre maker was the exclusive supplier for the first VW one-make series, the Scirocco-starring Volkswagen Junior Cup. In rallying, Pirelli and Volkswagen were crowned Group A world champions together in 1986. More recently, Pirelli, VW Motorsport and the Polo GTI R5 won titles in Estonia and Latvia with Oliver Solberg and Aaron Johnston.

Pirelli’s motorsport history stretches back over 110 years, and the Milanese firm has celebrated notable successes on the race track and rally stages. It debuted in the inaugural season of the World Rally Championship in 1973, and subsequently won 25 world championship titles and 181 race wins, with the P7 and P Zero among its roll-call of successes. Among its most acclaimed victories include WRC wins with Richard Burns/Robert Reid in 2001, Petter Solberg/Phil Mills in 2003, and Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena in 2008. Pirelli will also supply the top most category in the WRC for the coming season.

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05 March 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Motorsport fine tunes Polo GTI R5 with a package of updates

Despite its recent announcement to focus its motorsport strategy on electric mobility, Volkswagen Motorsport has revealed plans to technically fine tune the Polo GTI R5 rally car over the course of the next 12 months. The 270bhp, four-wheel drive special stage star has over 125 podium finishes to its name up to the end of 2019.

Following on from the multi-championship-winning Polo R WRC, the latest rallying Polo is sold by Volkswagen Motorsport as part of its customer sport programme, and has been overwhelmingly successful around the world. Findings from these global events have fed back into the updating of the car, and the Polo GTI R5 will be the recipient of upgraded suspension components in the spring 2020, with other modified parts to follow over the course of the year.

Package of improvements
Several cars have already been delivered to teams with new chassis components, but a larger package of improvements will be added over the next 12 months. These detail changes will be homologated for use in competitions including the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), and other national championships. As well as the improved mechanical upgrades, production of the rallying Polo is also being stepped up to meet the huge demand – 20 per cent more Polo GTI R5 than initially planned will now be built in 2020. Production will also continue beyond 2020.

‘The success story of the Polo GTI R5 is overwhelming. In customer hands, it has claimed more than 75 victories and 125 podium finishes up to the end of 2019,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets. ‘However, it is not only the success of our customers that is important to us, but also their experience in a wide range of conditions – whether on asphalt, gravel, or ice and snow. Our engineers use this feedback to make detailed improvements to the Polo GTI R5. Our goal is to ensure that the Polo GTI R5 remains successful.’

‘Comprehensive feedback’
‘If you are not moving forward, you are always moving backward in the world of motorsport,’ said François-Xavier Demaison, technical director at Volkswagen Motorsport. ‘As such, it is hugely important to be constantly working on ideas for improved performance and durability. Thanks to the comprehensive feedback we receive from our customers, we have been working on updates for the Polo GTI R5 since 2019 and the first detailed improvements are already being delivered to customers.’

To facilitate the updates, Volkswagen Motorsport states that ‘countless amounts of feedback’ from teams and drivers currently running the Polo GTI R5 in series from locations as far and wide as the Arctic Circle to Africa, and North and South America to Europe, have been collected and analysed. A professional feedback system now makes the process simpler and more direct.

Despite the statement that ‘a clear emphasis on fully electric racing cars will be backed up by the farewell to factory-backed commitments using internal combustion engines’ which Volkswagen Motorsport released in November 2019, the Polo GTI R5 remains, for now at least, an integral part of Volkswagen Motorsport’s customer sport offering. In the same statement, the Hanover outfit said it will still be responsible for continued customer support, spare parts supply and the competitiveness of the rallying Polo, it was just factory-backed competition entries with the GTI R5 that will no longer go ahead.

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28 January 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Solberg and Polo GTI R5 slide into impressive Rallye Monte-Carlo debut



Norwegian up-and-coming rally star Oliver Solberg took on the 2020 Rallye Monte-Carlo in a Polo GTI R5 and although his participation was just to gain experience during his first tarmac event, the son of rallying and rallycross ace Petter Solberg posted hugely impressive times in his Monster Energy-backed Volkswagen.

The 18-year-old is a seasoned Polo GTI R5 helmsman, having contested numerous European Rally Championship events last season. Along with co-driver Aaron Johnston, Solberg took a hat-trick of titles in 2019 (Latvia Rally champion, the Baltic Rally Trophy and an Estonian class win) aboard the Polo GTI R5. The pair also took on Wales Rally GB, their first World Rally Championship (WRC) event.

A measured approach
For the 189-mile Monte test (23-26 January), a measured approach was the order of the day. Safe tyre choices and sensible lines translated into gained knowledge and experience, but there were still respectable pace. The Monster Energy Polo posted a third fastest R5 class time on the second run at the Cubans – Venterol test, but later clipped a kerb with the left-rear wheel, the ever-eager Solberg revelling in his and Johnston’s first running of the legendary event. It was one of the event’s lessons given to the young driver.

‘Even when I hit the kerb, at literally walking speed, I learned so much. I used the handbrake to rotate the car, but on the ice it slid too far. The wheel hit the kerb at a really low speed, but at the wrong angle. We broke a bolt in the suspension and had to stop and make the repair ourselves. I always said I wasn’t coming here for the race, I was coming here to learn and I have learned so much!’ As well as the knowledge the duo took away, they finished 16th in the WRC2 class and 25th overall.

A particular highlight was the stage over the infamous Col de Turini. ‘Like every rally fan, for my whole life I watched cars coming over this incredible mountain road and to be there, to drive through that atmosphere with so many fans was just unbelievable. I’ll never forget it.’

‘Just incredible’
The Norwegian superstar-in-waiting really enjoyed his first Monte, which took place in a range of ever-changing weather conditions. ‘Everything everybody told me about the Monte was true. It is such a difficult rally. So difficult! Everything we did on this event was new. I’ve never competed on tarmac before, everything we had done in the previous years had been getting ready for gravel rallies – which are the ones we will be doing most. We had a test before this event, but when we came to these conditions it was just incredible.

‘Everybody said we would be on the wrong tyres for a lot of the time and this was exactly how it was. We were on the ice tyres for a long time on Saturday morning, doing these huge slides as the studs have no grip on the dry asphalt. All the time I was thinking: “Is this right?” And then you come to the full ice and snow and the tyre is perfect. Then you think: “Yes! This is right!”

‘It was a real compromise of everything, but you have to come here to learn that and if you go to the ditch on the first day then you learn nothing. Sometimes I was maybe wanting to push a little bit harder, but I knew there was too much at risk. The problem is, I can’t wait another 12 months to come back – I want to go and do it all again now.’

Solberg Junior will pilot the Polo GTI R5 on more rallies during 2020, but will also slip behind the wheel of a works Škoda Motorsport-supported Fabia Rally2 evo for three of the season’s rounds. The Norwegian’s Fabia-ulous WRC assault starts at Rally Sweden on 13 February. ‘We will still drive the Polo on some rounds,’ said Solberg, who made his WRC debut at Wales Rally GB in October 2019. ‘The main thing for me now is to try to make experience on as many WRC rounds as possible this year.’

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