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

25 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

New Polo GTI chosen as basis for 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup circuit racer

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

On the same day the sixth-generation model is launched in South Africa, today the wraps have been taken off the latest racing Volkswagen Polo which will contest the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup. The first circuit racing version of the all-new Polo, the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup car is based on the GTI model, which will arrive in South Africa later this year.

‘Push to Pass’ system
Carrying the same ‘Beware the Confidence’ tagline as the standard car’s launch materials, the Engen Volkswagen Cup GTI has a 2.0-litre, 197bhp four-cylinder turbocharged engine which produces 251lb ft / 340Nm of torque at 1 bar of boost. There is also a new ‘Push to Pass’ system which releases another 23bhp for 10 seconds, similar to that seen on the 2012 Scirocco R-Cup cars.

In a difference to the intial batch of European road cars, the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTIs have a six-speed manual ‘MQ350’ gearbox, taken from the latest Golf GTI. Locally-sourced SAX shock absorbers sit suspend the standard Polo’s five-door body, while the car sits on coil springs front and rear, and rides on Dunlop semi-slick tyres.

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

‘Most successful racing formula’
Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa said: ‘Volkswagen Motorsport would like to thank Engen for their on-going sponsorship and commitment to what we see as South Africa’s most successful racing formula as well as the competitors who have the confidence in the series to make the change to the all-new car.’

Those 24 competitors will contest a total of eight rounds in 2018, the 22nd year the Polo-based Engen Volkswagen Cup has been run. ‘We are very excited for the start of the 2018 racing season,’ continued Mike Rowe. ‘I am sure that all the Engen Volkswagen Cup competitors are raring to go.’

‘The series, which has become known as the School of Champions, is a special one in South Africa and has crowned a total of 16 different national champions. It also an immensely competitive one as only five people have managed to win it more than once,’ he added.

2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup Polo GTI

GTI badge debut
The closely-fought Engen Volkswagen Cup series is a one-make series where performance is kept equal to provide entertaining motor racing. Teams are only permitted to adjust the chassis set-up and tyre pressures, while the engine power is also limited. The 2018 season sees the ‘GTI’ badge make its debut on a South African Polo Cup racer in the series’ two-decade history.

The 2018 South African circuit racing season starts on 24 March, when a comprehensive field of more than 24 young Polo drivers aged 15 to 27 line up for the start of the 2018 Engen Polo Cup at the Kyalami race track in Johannesburg.

Continue Reading

24 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

A successful sell-out: fifteen orders confirmed for new Polo GTI R5 rally car

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

As the series production car is gaining sales momentum in Europe and South America, Volkswagen Motorsport has confirmed the first customers for the new Polo GTI R5, based on the new sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo, launched last autumn.

Fifteen paying customers have been confirmed for the first batch of the new Polo-based rally car, which means the first run of motorsport machines is now sold out. The 272bhp, four-wheel drive rallying Polos will be delivered in the second half of the year, with both European and South American customers eagerly awaiting delivery.

Baumschlager Rallye & Racing GmbH in Austria will take three cars, headed up by Austrian rally champion Raimund Baumschlager, who won the 2017 Austrian Rally Championship with a Polo R WRC previously campaigned by four-time Polo champion Sébastien Ogier. Belgium also sees three cars head there: two for BMA and one for THX Racing.

A pair of GTI R5s will end up at Printsport Oy in Finland, while another duo will head to Italy for HK Racing. One car will go to Portugal, and previous World Rallycross hi-fliers Kristoffersson Motorsport has also ordered one GTI R5.

A trio of cars will also undergo the longest journey of cars in the initial batch: a Paraguay Volkswagen importer 11,000km away from the Volkswagen Motorsport workshops in Hanover, Miguel Carrizosa/DIESA S.A., will contest national events in the country.

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘Customer demand is enormous’
‘We are overwhelmed by the positive feedback on the new Polo GTI R5*,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. ‘The customer demand is enormous. We are pleased about this, and it is an additional motivation to provide the teams with the best possible rally car.’

‘We assemble each car by hand in our workshop in Hanover,’ said Juliane Gründl, head of sales and distribution at Volkswagen Motorsport. ‘We are on schedule. However, we are still in the process of structuring production, and in the aftersales implementation phase. We obviously want to be ideally positioned in time for the sales launch.’

FIA regulations have determined part of the car’s make-up said Volkswagen Motorsport Technical Director François-Xavier ‘FX’ Demaison: ‘The air restrictor regulation is one of the cost-reducing measures in the R5 category, and engineers’ hands are also tied by R5 regulations in other areas. For instance, many technical components must come from a production vehicle, while standard parts are required in other areas.

‘The Polo GTI R5 uses the gearbox and four-wheel drive system of suppliers who also supply the competition. Working with our technical development colleagues in Wolfsburg and the ŠKODA motorsport staff, whose R5 vehicle has been competing since 2015, was a great help,’ elaborated Demaison.

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

‘The price limit is a challenge’
For 2018, the FIA-sanctioned price for an R5-category car will be €190,000. ‘The price limit is a challenge for every development department. We inevitably have to make compromises because you can’t simply choose the optimal solution in terms of performance which would probably also be the most expensive. It has to be affordable,’ explained Demaison.

‘But engineers are used to conforming with guidelines, whether they’re technical or financial. And because the R5 category is about customer motorsport, these cost containment measures make perfect sense,’ he added. Therefore, the wider wings of the Polo GTI R5 are not made from ultra-lightweight, expensive carbon fibre, but rather from affordable plastic.

Development of the latest Volkswagen Motorsport rally Polo began at the start of 2017, ahead of the launch of the sixth-generation Polo road car. Testing began in December in France, the UK, and Germany, and the plan is for the car to have its official homologation and subsequent debut on the 2018 Rally of Germany in the summer.

272bhp, 0 to 62mph in 4.1 seconds
Whereas the production Polo GTI** has a 197bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, its rallying relative is capped to 1.6 litres, but 272bhp and 295lb ft / 400Nm of torque is sent through a five-speed sequential gearbox to all four wheels for maximum grip on any surface. A weight of just 1,230kg (the Polo GTI road car tips the scales at 1,355kg) sees the new Hanover rally racer rocket to 62mph from rest in just 4.1 seconds, 2.6 seconds faster than the road car.

It all sounds very promising, and we can’t wait to see the new car in angry action. We also excitedly await the Polo GTI R5 writing the next chapter in Volkswagen’s rich rallying story.

* Polo GTI R5: the concept vehicle has not gone on sale, and therefore Directive 1999 / 94 EC does not apply.

** Polo GTI (147kW / 197bhp) fuel consumption in l/100 km: urban 7.7 / extra-urban 4.9 / combined 5.9; CO2 emissions (combined) in g/km: 134; efficiency class: C.

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