30 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

World class: ‘strong debut’ for Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rally Spain: Camilli/Veillas

Volkswagen Motorsport described the first – and only – works outing for its new Polo GTI R5 rally car as a ‘strong debut’. Petter Solberg took a third place podium finish at the 2018 Rally Spain, while Eric Camilli led the WRC 2 category for much of the event before a defect in the gearshift linkage dashed hopes of a Volkswagen victory.

The new 270bhp four-wheel drive customer sports machine made a good impression on the Spanish gravel and tarmac event and proved it was competitive to other more long-standing rivals. That’s good news for the eight customers who have so far placed orders for the €190,000 (tarmac-spec price) WRC 2 weapon. The first cars will be delivered to their international teams over the coming weeks.

Best time
The Polo GTI R5 was impressive from the off in Spain, and scored a best time on the first special stage, a feat shared by its top-flight Polo R WRC predecessor on its debut in 2013. Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas initially took the WRC 2 class lead, but on the second day, when the action switched to tarmac, the pair opted for a hard tyre choice and forfeited their lead, only to be chasing for it again later in the day.

With just three tenths of a second between the Frenchmen and the eventual winners Kalle Rovanperä and Jonne Halttunen, a defect in the shift linkage cost Camilli and Veillas their hopes of victory. However, on their return under Rally 2 regulations on day three, the Polo pair secured more best times, including that of the special stage on the revered ‘Riudecanyes’ section.

‘Very proud’
Camilli was upbeat, despite his day two retirement: ‘There’s one thing I’d like to say first, because it’s very important to me: I enjoyed every single minute in the Polo GTI R5 this weekend, it’s so much fun driving the car. We wanted to show that the Polo is fast in all conditions – I think that we demonstrated that with best times on gravel and tarmac. With a little bit more luck Benjamin and I could have celebrated a better result, possibly even the class win. I am very proud that I was privileged to be part of this special debut.’

Elsewhere, in car number 49, Solberg and co-driver Veronica Engan caused a stir with the best time on the most challenging and longest gravel stage of the rally on their return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) after six years away, and finished the event in a strong third position.

Ex-WRC champion Solberg was delighted: ‘What a fantastic result after six years away! It was not an easy task with just two days of testing and totally new pace notes. Which is why I am very proud of what Veronica and I achieved. A podium result on the debut – things couldn’t have gone much better.

‘We avoided all risks, and always looked for a clean line. With a little bit more of an attack, no doubt we could have come away with more. But the most important thing is that I had an incredible amount of fun in the car, and when you finish on the podium with champagne, you start to mull things over. A quick word about Sébastien Loeb: it was simply fantastic what he did here. Congratulations on his exceptional win!’ he commented.

‘Strong debut’
Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director was happy, too. ‘We are really pleased with the Polo GTI R5’s debut and I think that we have completed our mission. Petter and Eric delivered top performances in very difficult conditions and helped the Polo GTI R5 make a strong debut, with both drivers getting best times.’

‘Leading the first rally ahead of strong competition and winning special stages on different surfaces is a clear sign that the new Polo GTI R5 is extremely competitive. At the same time, we know that the car has even more potential,’ Smeets disclosed.

‘The pace of the new Polo GTI R5 was good from the start,’ said Gerard-Jan de Jongh, Technical Project Lead for the Polo GTI R5. ‘Eric Camilli and Petter Solberg demonstrated that the car is competitive and fast in all conditions and with both drivers. However, a competition like the Rally Spain is always different from testing – which is why a minor defect had a major impact. But the problem with the shift linkage is an easy one to solve and eliminate before the car is delivered to customers,’ de Jongh assured.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rally Spain: Camilli/Veillas

Prospective Polo GTI R5 customers had the chance to view the car in the Rally Spain service park – especially during the transformation from gravel to tarmac spec which involved the switching of 1,025 parts in just 75 minutes – and there looks to be a number added to the 15 cars already sold. Due to be delivered by the end of the year, the first Polo GTI R5s are heading to teams in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Paraguay and Sweden. The cars are being made at Volkswagen Motorsport’s Hannover base and the Ikarusallee crew has a goal to produce 30 to 40 Polo GTI R5s in 2019.

Continue Reading

05 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Motorsport reveals final look and livery for Polo GTI R5

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Twenty days before it makes its competitive debut on the Rally Spain, Volkswagen Motorsport has pulled the covers off the livery which will adorn the new Polo GTI R5. Borrowing a style seen on the Golf GTI TCR touring car – also a Volkswagen customer sports racer – the Polo GTI R5’s optical style incorporates many of the typical ‘GTI’ branding motifs, including a red, white and black colour scheme, as well as the now traditional ‘honeycomb’ elements.

Typically, as is the standard in motorsport, the latest rally Polo’s striking look was applied as a film. ‘The Polo GTI R5 looks really exciting,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. Nico Mühr, Exterior Design Volkswagen, commented: ‘We purposely used many of the design elements from the production vehicles of the GTI family for the Polo GTI R5.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘Distinctive look’
‘In addition to the typical colours of red, white, black and the line on the front grille, it is the GTI icons with their honeycomb structure in particular that give the new rally Polo its distinctive look. Ultimately, the Polo GTI R5, despite its extreme rally look, remains clearly identifiable as – no doubt the fastest – member of the Polo family,’ he stated.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

The first Polo GTI R5s will be delivered to their new customer team owners in November. What they will take delivery of is a 270bhp, four-wheel drive machine, which can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 4.1 seconds. Powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine, and weighing 1,230kg, the new stage-munching Polo has a 20-month development period behind it, which includes over 10,000 test kilometres in a range of climates.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

This thoroughness is due in part to the regulations. ‘Only minimal technical modifications are allowed to be made to an R5 during the specified motorsport lifetime of five years,’ explained Gerard Jan de Jongh, Technical Project Lead Polo GTI R5. ‘This is why we prepared ourselves as well and thoroughly as possible.’ Rally aces Eric Camilli and Petter Solberg have been confirmed as the drivers that will pilot the Polo GTI R5 on its Rally Spain debut, which starts on 25 October.

Continue Reading

19 September 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Eric Camilli named as first driver to debut Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Following the recent announcement that the first 15 Polo GTI R5s have been presented to their new owners, Volkswagen Motorsport has named Eric Camilli as the first driver for the car’s competitive debut at Rally Spain, which runs from 25 to 28 October.

Significant role
Camilli is a World Rally Championship 2 (WRC 2) runner-up, and along with co-driver Benjamin Veillas, has played a significant role in the development of Volkswagen Motorsport’s new 270bhp customer sports racer. The Polo GTI R5’s debut in Spain will be its only works appearance before it enters competition with its new customer teams. Camilli and Veillas meanwhile, have clocked up 31 stage wins and three podium finishes, including a victory at Rally Germany.

Frenchman Camilli was delighted at his appointment: ‘When Sven Smeets and R5 project lead Jan de Jongh gave me the good news, it was a lovely, belated birthday present. I am proud to be part of the team at this premiere. After an intensive year of testing, it is great to be competing in the first rally with the Polo GTI R5 and I have plenty of motivation to do well. Ben and I will prepare diligently for Rally Spain and hopefully we will be able to start the R5 Polo on its career path with a good result.’

Eric Camilli

‘Experienced team’
‘Eric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas are an experienced team and did a valuable job during testing with the Polo GTI R5,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘It is the logical next step for them to take their WRC 2 experience into this competitive debut. Having Eric and Ben in the cockpit puts us in an excellent position.’ The driver and co-driver line-up for the second Polo GTI R5 will be announced at a later date, while the 15 new customer cars will be delivered from November.

The new GTI R5 isn’t the only Polo Camilli has experienced. The 31 year-old owned a fourth-generation version of the small Volkswagen as his second car. ‘My second car was a Polo, a used 2005 Polo IV Trendline with 63bhp, in silver,’ explained Camilli. ‘Volkswagens are such reliable cars. And I like the design.’

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘Impressive history’
As for the new four-wheel drive competition machine, Camilli/Veillas drove around one third of the 10,000 test kilometres. ‘The Polo GTI R5 has an impressive history and reacts very precisely when you are driving. I think that it is a very good R5 car – but we will only know for certain after Rally Spain in October and the first head-to-head comparison with the very strong competition,’ commented Camilli.

Rally Spain marks the return of Benjamin Veillas to Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover. When it was running the four-time world champion Polo R WRC, the 40 year-old Frenchman played a role in Sébastien Ogier’s spotter and weather crew. Veillas has been driving with Camilli since 2014’s Rally France event, and the duo have celebrated six podiums in the WRC 2 class and one best stage time in top-flight WRC so far.

ERIC CAMILLI PROFILE
Date/place of birth: 6 September 1987, Nice
Hobbies: Sport, especially running and trials

Career highlights
2017: 2nd place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2), 1 win
2016: 11th place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2014: 2nd place Volant Peugeot, 1 win

WRC 2 successes
17 rallies, six podiums (including one win), 31 stage wins, 144 championship points.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

29 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

An icy inquest: Petter Solberg tests 2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in Sweden

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Volkswagen Motorsport’s new rally weapon, the Polo GTI R5 has taken to the roads again. This time the frozen tracks of Sweden provided the new 272bhp rally machine with a stern test, the car out through its paces by no fewer than three world champions: World Rallycross Polo RX pilot Petter Solberg, 2000 and 2002 title holder Marcus Grönholm and junior and WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand.

The latest four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 assessment took place near the town of Kall, north-west of Östersund. Temperatures were as low as -15 degrees Celsius on the 4km-long route. Solberg had Veronica Engan – who usually reads pace notes for his son Oliver – relaying back the route commands.

‘Fantastic to drive’
Solberg was impressed by the new car: ‘It was just fantastic to be back behind the wheel of a rally car again and to help out the Volkswagen family. It was a really fun day. The team has done such a great job and the car is fantastic to drive. I didn’t want to get out at the end of the day!

‘We covered almost 300 kilometres in one day – very different to what I’m used to in the World Rallycross Championship, but I used my extensive rallying experience to work with the engineers on small changes to the car,’ the Norwegian rallycross and rally star added.

Continue Reading

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

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. More information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close