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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