08 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

‘Project Title Defence’: Volkswagen Motorsport launches 2014 WRC attack

2014 Volkswagen Polo R WRC: 2014 championship Wolfsburg launch

Volkswagen Motorsport launched its 2014 World Rally Championship campaign yesterday, ahead of the first round of the series, Rally Monte Carlo, which takes place from 14-19 January.

At a presentation in Wolfsburg, it was revealed that the 315bhp Polo R WRC which defending champions Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia will pilot will wear the number 1, rather than the number eight of last season.

Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Prof Dr Martin Winterkorn, and Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development, Dr Heinz-Jakob Neußer, sent the Volkswagen Motorsport team on its way to the south of France event, the first of 13 tests which make up the 2014 calendar.

Launching ‘Project Title Defence’, Dr Winterkorn said: ‘The entire Volkswagen team performed magnificently in 2013 and won all three titles in the WRC. The key now is to follow on from this success. That means no arrogance or complacency, but maximum concentration and the desire to win once again.

‘If the team is able to heed this advice, we could do even better this year. That will obviously not be easy. Winning the titles was a milestone for the Volkswagen brand. Motorsport is not an end in itself for us – we compete to demonstrate the outstanding quality and innovation of our brand and our cars.

‘The Polo R WRC is, after all, based on a production chassis that is manufactured in Pamplona.’

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director agreed: ‘It goes without saying that preparations for the WRC season started well before today. We are as well prepared as possible for the Rally Monte Carlo and have further developed many details on the Polo R WRC.

‘This season’s World Rally Championship offers many new aspects, which will make the project to defend our titles demanding. We have a new opponent in Hyundai, while Ford and Citroën have new driving line-ups this season.

‘In Poland, a country full of rally enthusiasts returns to the WRC calendar. Everyone is looking forward to doing their best. It was thanks to our extraordinary team spirit that we achieved such great things during 2013.’

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen works driver and defending WRC champion in the Drivers’ Championship explained the team’s pre-season testing programme: ‘There are only 61 days between the final special stage of last season and the first of the coming Rally Monte Carlo.

‘No other world championship has such a short break. Testing and preparations have been running at full throttle since November, and we are well prepared to start the new season as defending champions. Today’s event was symbolic – starting out from Wolfsburg shows that the entire company is behind us.

‘As far as I, my co-driver Julien Ingrassia and our team are concerned, we are ready for the 2014 World Rally Championship.’

Behind Ogier and Ingrassia in Monte Carlo will be Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila in Polo R WRC #2 (as well as start number 2), and Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula who will be in the third Polo wearing #9.

It has also been reported that as the voluntary deadline for existing WRC teams for a freeze on development of their current rally cars approached, the FIA confirmed that a range of homologation changes on the Polo R WRC have been approved.

Effective from 1 December 2013, transmission and engine mountings, suspension components, a different differential ramp, and tarmac and gravel wishbones have all been revised. Citroën and Ford Fiesta squad M-Sport made smaller changes.

In a big shake-up of the series, the FIA has stated that there will be no qualifying sessions before each rally – drivers will start as per their standings at that time. Regardless, bring on WRC 2014!

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP, 2014 CALENDAR
14/01–19/01/2014
Rally Monte Carlo (asphalt, ice and snow)

05/02–08/02/2014
Rally Sweden (ice and snow)

06/03–09/03/2014
Rally Mexico (gravel)

03/04–06/04/2014
Rally Portugal (gravel)

08/05–11/05/2014
Rally Argentina (gravel)

06/06–08/06/2014
Rally Italy (gravel)

27/06–29/06/2014
Rally Poland (gravel)

01/08–03/08/2014
Rally Finland (gravel)

22/08–24/08/2014
Rally Germany (asphalt)

12/09–14/09/2014
Rally Australia (gravel)

03/10–05/10/2014
Rally France (asphalt)

24/10–26/10/2014
Rally Spain (gravel, asphalt)

14/11–16/11/2014
Rally Great Britain (gravel)

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