Archive | WRC

31 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

The PoloDriver review of 2011

The most exciting Polo news of 2011 was the final unveiling of the Polo R WRC, with which Volkswagen Motorsport intends to complete in the 2013 World Rally Championship. Signing the first factory driver, Sébastien Ogier was the icing on the cake. Other motorsport series also continued around the world, with the Volkswagen Polo Cup India being renamed the Volkswagen Polo R Cup India, and the Polo Vivo made its track and rally debut. As far as the road car was concerned, it still continued to win awards and make a good impression, especially on us, as we took a Polo GTI on a 1000-mile road trip. Strong sales figures in the UK and further afield continued to add to the Polo’s success. (Bold entries are illustrated by the picture above that particular month.)

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06 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Footage of debut Polo R WRC / Sébastien Ogier gravel test appears online

Will the 41-second film clip above prove to be a bit of history in the making? The development of the Polo R WRC continues at as blistering a pace as the car (the amount of stories we’re filing about Volkswagen’s new World Rally Champsionship – WRC – contender is proof of that), and just as we’d posted yesterday’s story about new VW factory driver Sébastien Ogier’s Race of Champions 2011 victory did this video appear. Showing Ogier and co-driver and fellow Frenchman Julien Ingrassia tackling the gravel in their Polo R WRC. Raised up much higher than the factory-produced CrossPolo production model, and with a proper four-wheel drive system, Ogier and Volkswagen Motorsport have the 2013 WRC title on their sights. This video could be the first step in realising that ambition.

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05 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Ogier is Race of Champions king, as Polo R WRC completes first gravel tests

New Volkswagen World Rally Championship (WRC) signing Sébastien Ogier was victorious at the annual motorsport event, the Race of Champions. Staged in the ESPRIT Arena in Düsseldorf on 3-4 December, the 27 year-old Frenchman beat eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen who had beaten Michael Schumacher in the semi-final. Ogier signed for Volkswagen Motorsport on 23 November, also demonstrated his driving skills in the Polo R WRC, his first public outing with the 300bhp four-wheel drive rally car.

Ogier was fastest overall in a field which included Formula 1 World Champions Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button, as well as DTM Champions Martin Tomczyk, Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekström. Among the Volkswagen Group race cars used for the Race of Champions were the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup, Audi R8 LMS and the Škoda Fabia S2000. An Up VIP race was even staged to support the main event, and highlighted Volkswagen’s new compact car.

Commenting on his Race of Champions victory, Ogier said: ‘My first outing in Volkswagen overalls, this in Germany and victory in the Race of Champions – I’m absolutely delighted. They were exciting races against fantastic opponents. It’s not easy for a newcomer to master the different cars and track, but I had a good feeling from the word go. It was a great honour for me to be invited for the first time to participate in the Race of Champions. My thanks also go to the fans that made the atmosphere electric.’

Even Kristensen admitted afterwards: ‘Sébastien really impressed me and he certainly has a big future ahead of him in rallying with Volkswagen.’ Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen said: ‘The entire Volkswagen Motorsport team is proud of our new Champion and is delighted with Sébastien for this magnificent win. It’s obviously fantastic that he has won the first prestigious title for Volkswagen only two weeks after his signing, and against a line-up of such high quality.’

Pictures also appeared at the weekend of the Polo R WRC in gravel specification, with its raised ride height, testing in France with Ogier and Juho Hänninen, Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion and 2011 Super 2000 World Rally Championship champion. Rumours are also abound once more that the Polo R WRC could spawn a road car, while Volkswagen have not responded to any stories.

[Images: Volkswagen Motorsport / Auto Bild]

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23 November 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Sébastien Ogier becomes first factory Polo R WRC driver at Volkswagen

Sébastien Ogier has been signed as the first official Volkswagen driver for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The 27-year-old Frenchman and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia (31) are joining the Volkswagen Motorsport squad effective immediately. Ogier, who finished the 2011 WRC in third place, will be instrumental in helping to shape the development of the Polo R WRC for Volkswagen’s 2013 entry in the World Rally Championship.

‘Volkswagen is the number one in Europe and will soon be number one in the world,’ said an exuberant Sébastien Ogier on his arrival in Hanover. ‘I’m sure that they’re going to compete with the goal of clinching the WRC title, and I’m happy to be part of this from the outset.’ And co-driver Julien Ingrassia stresses with self-confidence: ‘We’re looking forward to a team with a fighting spirit and the determination to win. Anything’s possible!’

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‘I am very happy about Sébastian Ogier and Julien Ingrassia joining us,’ says Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management for the Development Division. ‘Both of them are important pieces of the puzzle on our way towards building a successful team in the World Rally Championship. It is also a mark of confidence for our team if such a strong pairing opts for a new team in the WRC that is still in the process of being developed.’ Motorsport Director Kris Nissen adds: ‘We are proud that such a successful and quick duo as Sébastian Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia have decided to join Volkswagen. The aim of putting a competitive Polo R WRC on the road for them as quickly as possible will additionally drive our team. We look forward to working with them and are hoping for many victories and titles in the future.’

Also involved in the contractual negotiations was rally legend Carlos Sainz, who is instrumental in the successful implementation of the WRC 2013 project as an expert adviser to the Volkswagen team. ‘For me, Sébastien is one of the world’s three best drivers,’ praises the two-time World Rally Champion (1990, 1992) and 2010 Dakar winner. The Frenchman, who was Junior WRC Champion in 2008 and third in the 2011 WRC, is considered one of the world’s best drivers. Many experts view the rally racer, who is also a licenced ski instructor, as the upcoming World Champion. In the past season, he won five rallies, thus winning the same number of events as the subsequent world champion Sébastien Loeb. In 2010, in Portugal, he mounted the top of the podium for the first time and has been successful at seven WRC rounds so far.

Ogier will perform his first run as a Volkswagen factory driver at the Race Of Champions at the ESPRIT arena in Düsseldorf on 3 and 4 December, being pitted against the other ‘Super Seb’ – Sebastian Vettel from Formula One.

Profile: Sébastien Ogier
Date and place of birth: 17 December 1983, Gap, Hautes Alpes (France)
Height: 1.81m
Weight: 75kg
Profession: Ski Instructor
Successes: 2008 Junior World Rally Champion; 2010 First victory at the Portugal Rally;
45 rallies, 7 victories, 14 podium places.

Profile: Julien Ingrassia
Date and place of birth: 26 November 1979, Aix-en-Provence (France)
Height: 1.83m
Weight: 72kg
Profession: Businessman
Successes: 2008 Junior World Rally Champion; 2010 First victory at the Portugal Rally;
45 rallies, 7 victories, 14 podium places.

[Source: Volkswagen Motorsport]

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16 November 2011 ~ 0 Comments

S2000 class victory for Volkswagen Motorsport team on Rally GB

Although not officially points scoring, one of the Volkswagen Motorsport-prepared Škoda Fabias emerged victorious in the S2000 class on the Rally GB on 11-13 November, also netting a twelfth place overall. Dutchman Kevin Abbring and co-driver Lara Vanneste’s result was the season’s best for the Volkswagen Motorsport team, while German driver Sepp Wiegand faced retirement on round 13, when along with co-driver Timo Gottschalk, he had been running in third place in the S2000 class.

With 354km of special stages, Rally GB was Volkswagen Motorsport’s fourth running of the Škoda Fabia S2000 pairing, to primarily gain test data for the company’s Polo R WRC car which will take to the forests, ice tracks and tarmac in 2013. Also evaluating young driving talents, Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen was pleased with the latest stage of the programme: ‘Rally GB represents one of the biggest challenges in the WRC. Kevin Abbring and Lara Vanneste showed a very strong driving performance.’

The next competitive run planned by the Volkswagen factory team will be the legendary Monte Carlo Rally which will run from 18-22 January 2012. Two officially-prepared 270bhp four-wheel drive Škoda Fabia S2000s will take part in the season opener, which returns to the WRC calendar for the first time since 2009. The official Volkswagen Motorsport press release and image gallery follows.

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