31 December 2018 ~ 0 Comments

The PoloDriver.com review of 2018

2018 was yet another busy year for the Volkswagen Polo. The launch and introduction of the all-new sixth-generation model into the UK and the debut of the Polo GTI R5 rally car have been the biggest happenings, while, yet again, the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R has dominated the World Rallycross Championship in the hands of Johan Kristoffersson.

Historically featuring the current Polo, the South African Engen Volkswagen Cup also starred new sixth-generation Polo GTI racing cars, and while PSRX Volkswagen Sweden has bowed out of the World Rallycross Championship series for 2019, team boss and ex-rally champ Petter Solberg has promised there will be some action. Whether that turns out to be Polo-based or not, we’ve yet to find out.

Right now, though, we round up the Polo’s biggest achievements in 2018. (Bold entries are illustrated by the picture above that particular month’s list of events.)

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

January

  • Sixth-generation Polo launched in South Africa
  • Polo Vivo named the most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo is the fourth most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Fifteen orders confirmed for new Polo GTI R5 rally car as Petter Solberg tests the car in Sweden
  • New Polo GTI chosen as basis for 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup circuit racer.

2018 Volkswagen Polo Vivo GT

February

  • Sixth-generation Polo launched in Australia from $17,990
  • New-generation Polo Vivo launched in South Africa
  • Sixth-generation Polo named the most popular passenger car in South Africa.
  • Polo Vivo is the second most popular passenger car in South Africa.

2018 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R

March

  • Polo claims Car South Africa magazine’s ‘Top 12 Best Buys 2018 – Small Hatchback’ award (Polo Vivo and Mazda 2 runners-up)
  • Polo named as ‘Best Car 2018 – Sub-Compact Cars’ by Auto Motor und Sport
  • Volkswagen India replaces Polo 1.2 with Polo 1.0 MPI
  • Indian-market limited edition Polo Pace launched
  • Polo Vivo is the most popular passenger car in South Africa for Q1 2018 with 7,027 units sold
  • Polo is the second most popular passenger car in South Africa for Q1 2018 with 6,610 units sold
  • Polo Vivo named the most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo is the second most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo announced as the World Urban Car 2018 winner
  • 2018 World Rallycross Championship Volkswagen Polo R Supercar revealed
  • Jeffrey Kruger wins race one of the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup at Kyalami.

2018 Volkswagen Vento Sport

April

  • Volkswagen Connect DataPlug and smartphone app-based connectivity system now standard on new Polo
  • Polo named ‘Safe Car of the Year’ at inaugural FirstCar Awards
  • 140bhp Polo VRS 1.2 TSI launched at 2018 Indonesia International Motor Show
  • Volkswagen India launches the Vento Sport
  • Polo Vivo is the most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo named the second most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo is the fifth most popular car in the UK
  • Volkswagen Motorsport announces Polo GTI R5 set for competitive debut at 2018 Rally Spain
  • Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo R Supercar wins World RX of Barcelona; Petter Solberg fifth
  • Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo R Supercar wins World RX of Portugal; Petter Solberg third
  • Jeffrey Kruger wins races two and three of the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup at Killarney.

2018 Volkswagen Polo SEL (UK)

May

  • Rear seat belt safety issue found on sixth-generation Polo models
  • Polo is the most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo Vivo named the second most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo is the fifth most popular car in the UK
  • Petter Solberg and PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo R Supercar finish second at World RX of Belgium; Johan Kristoffersson fifth
  • Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo R Supercar wins World RX of Great Britain; Petter Solberg seventh
  • Tasmin Pepper wins races four and five of the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup at Zwartkops.

2018 Volkswagen Polo Vivo Maxx

June

  • New South African-only Volkswagen Polo Vivo Maxx revealed
  • Volkswagen South Africa launches new Polo GTI from R375,900
  • Polo Vivo is the most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo named the second most popular passenger car in South Africa
  • Polo is the fifth most popular car in the UK
  • Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo R Supercar wins World RX of Norway
  • Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo R Supercar wins World RX of Sweden
  • Jonathan Mogotsi wins races six and seven of the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup at East London.

> Read More

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20 March 2018 ~ 0 Comments

2018 Volkswagen Polo R Supercar rallycross machine revealed

2018 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R

Until now, it’s just been seen testing, but today, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden pulled the covers of the new Polo R Supercar at Autostadt in Wolfsburg. The 570bhp four-wheel drive machine will once again be the chariot of choice for reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson and his team-mate and team boss Petter Solberg.

While the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship Polo looks similar to its victorious 2017 predecessor, it features an optimised aerodynamic package, which should help it stay at the front of the chasing World RX pack. The engine cooling has been redesigned, while a new rear wing creates more downforce than before and is more adjustable in its set-up. Overall, around 20 per cent of the parts of the 2018 car are new.

The silhouette is still that of the fifth-generation Polo which was replaced by the sixth-generation car last summer, but elements such as the light decals are obviously inspired by the newer model, and appear to be very similar to that car. Even though it looks very little changed to its predecessor, Volkswagen Motorsport is at pains to state that the 2018 Polo R Supercar is markedly different to its GTI-branded ancestor under the bonnet.

And of course, that’s another point. The 2017 car wore GTI badges to correlate with the Polo GTI road car, even though they weren’t actually related and the rallycross machine is, in effect, a silhouette racer. Widely seen as a good move, as the Polo R WRC was so far removed from the road-going Polo, it was debatable whether the motorsport ‘halo’ effect of selling more cars if said cars are seen in high-level action actually worked. There has never been a high-performance Polo R, so the new ‘strategic partnership’ with Volkswagen R GmbH seems a little odd. However, Volkswagen Motorsport is still on board with PSRX Volkswagen Sweden as before.

Perfect pairing
Also remaining are 2017 World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson and rally and rallycross star and PSRX team owner Petter Solberg. They proved an almost perfect pairing in the 2017 season, and are hoping repeat achievements in 2018. Kristoffersson, now starts with the world champion’s number 1 on his car: ‘The initial tests with the new Polo R Supercar have been very good.

‘The development department of Volkswagen Motorsport has done a magnificent job. As world champion, I am obviously particularly under pressure – but I don’t mind that. On the contrary, I am looking forward to some spectacular and hopefully exciting battles with the opposition,’ the young Swede declared.

He continued: ‘It feels much too long since the final World RX round of last year in South Africa last November. I have done lots of training – and competed in the World Rally Championship – but nothing compares with that feeling of being back in a Volkswagen Polo R Supercar. When we started testing again this year, I was sitting in the car smiling to myself. I’m so excited to be back and so excited to start the defence of my title from 2017.’

‘So much success’
Solberg said: ‘Last year the agreement for PSRX to partner with Volkswagen Sweden and Volkswagen Motorsport came very late – but we made so much success. Now it’s the job of us all to build on this success. It’s not going to be easy.

‘On a personal level, I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel. Over the winter season, I have spent quite a lot of time behind a desk and I definitely prefer my office with four wheels and a roll cage! Seriously, I am a competitor and I want to start competing again.’

‘There is no question, the new season promises to be very exciting. The opposition will do everything in their power to take our title,’ said Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. ‘Our goal is obviously to provide Johan and Petter with a good car, which will allow them to challenge for the world title again. I am confident that we will achieve this, and that the new partnership with Volkswagen R will give us even more power.’

‘Inspiration and passion’
Jost Capito, managing director of Volkswagen R GmbH (and a vital ingredient in the 2013-2016 Polo R WRC’s success), is looking forward to the partnership in the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship: ‘Volkswagen R has always drawn inspiration and passion from motor racing. We will now actively build on these qualities in close cooperation with our colleagues at Volkswagen Motorsport and the PSRX team. The FIA World Rallycross Championship will be really exciting and we are looking forward to working with our partners.’

The 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship gets underway on 14-15 April in Barcelona and will travel three continents over 12 rounds, ending up in Cape Town on 24-25 November. 2018 highlights include a round at the new Silverstone rallycross circuit, and an outing in Austin, Texas, will be the first time the series has visited the US.

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