26 April 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 set for competitive debut at 2018 Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Volkswagen Motorsport has announced that the new Polo GTI R5 rally car will mark its competitive arrival at the 25-28 October 2018 Rally Spain, two months after its anticipated debut at the German round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). A longer testing period to make sure the car is fully developed is the reason given for the delay.

One of the most diverse rallies in the calendar, Rally Spain features a mix of both asphalt and gravel surfaces, with teams given just 75 minutes to change the whole specification of the car. For Volkswagen Motorsport, though, the Catalonian round holds other appeal: the Spanish event is where it won its first WRC Manufacturers’ Championship with the Polo R WRC in 2013, and the same car claimed the top spot at each of the four occasions it contested the rally.

‘First really tough test’
‘The Rally Spain is a very happy stomping ground for us,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘We celebrated our first world championship title here. You simply don’t forget moments like that. With its varying surfaces, the Rally Spain is obviously also excellently suited to a first really tough test under competitive conditions,’ he continued.

‘The tests have gone well. The drivers who have tested the Polo GTI R5 have given very positive feedback,’ said Smeets. ‘Despite this, we still want to change a few things before the car is finally homologated on 1 October.’

‘Fully-developed and fast’
Gerard Jan de Jongh, Technical Project Lead for Polo GTI R5 and world champion Sébastien Ogier’s former race engineer, added: ‘A customer sport car must almost be developed even more thoroughly than a World Rally Car for a works team. Once the car has been successfully homologated, a customer often does not have the opportunity to make any changes or test the car thoroughly. For this reason, we are taking the time to ensure that we supply our customers with a fully-developed and fast Polo GTI R5.’

The 272bhp, four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 is the latest in a long line of Volkswagen Motorsport rally cars, the most successful being the Polo R WRC which collected 12 titles, 43 of a possible 52 wins, and 640 stage victories. The Polo GTI R5 is focused on customer sport, and is aimed at drivers in the WRC 2 category of the World Rally Championship as well as European and national rally series.

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