VW Polo ready to compete in WRC 2017
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We may not have seen the last of Volkswagen in the World Rally Championship - that's if recent reports out of Europe come to fruition.
Last week Volkswagen confirmed that the 2017-spec Polo would be homologated, opening an avenue for a private backer to campaign the all-new car.
Autocar UK have now reported that Volkswagen Group Motorsport boss Wolfgang Durheimer is currently in talks with ‘interested parties’, adding that the Volkswagen Motorsport squad stands ready to sub-contract team members who have developed the new 2017 car to a privateer team, helping them come to terms with the all-new build and harness its fullest potential.
“I am working on it and have always been supportive of having the cars competing despite our withdrawal as a factory team,” said Durheimer.
“The most important factor is that any project cannot cost us money, but if the right deal can be found then we will help in any way we can by sub-contracting Volkswagen Motorsport staff to help run and develop the cars. Whatever they want, our expertise will be available to hire.”
“I hope the deal will be done to have a team in Monte Carlo in January, and competing in the entire championship. If that happens, it would be a wonderful story – the team will be considered the underdogs and will be welcomed by fans.”
Volkswagen announced it was pulling the pin on its factory WRC program just prior to the final round of the series in Australia this year, citing knock-on effects of the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal as a direct factor in the decision.
Despite announcing that they would be withdrawing their factory program, the team continued developing the 2017-spec Polo — a project that concluded earlier this month.
The marque dominated the sport since its arrival in 2013 – winning 53 of the 43 events it entered, and collecting both the Manufacturer’s and Driver’s Championships four years in a row.
There are significant rule changes in the WRC class for next season; however, an opportunity to run one of the most successful rally platforms of all time would be greatly appealing to any privateer looking to compete at the highest level.
Remember when Honda withdrew from Formula 1? A certain Ross Brawn pulled together a private effort to compete the following year — which went rather well. Parallels can defiantly be found with Volkswagen’s current predicament.
Opportunity of the decade? In WRC terms, I think so.