Volkswagen launches WRC Polo GTI R5 rally rocket
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Volkswagen's new rally rocket
Volkswagen has unveiled the new Polo GTI R5 turn-key rally car, signalling the German giant's renewed interest in international rallying.
The new car is designed to compete in the World Rally Championship R5 class against rivals such as the Citroen DS3 R5, Ford Fiesta R5 and Skoda Fabia R5.
Volkswagen won the WRC title for four years in a row before pulling out at the beginning of last year, in the wake of the dieselgate scandal.
However its return to the WRC will be through supporting customers buying the new Polo GTI R5, rather than entering a direct Volkswagen WRC team in the competition.
The car will be available to professional teams and privateer drivers and will be eligible for different championships across the globe – including the World Championship's premier support category, WRC 2.
The new R5 Polo was released in Spain last night, and includes an aggressive body kit with a sportier front bumper, extended flares and a large rear spoiler. It will have lightweight wheels, a roll cage, and other safety equipment.
The car is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine producing 200kW of power and 400Nm of torque, connected to a five-speed sequential racing transmission, sending power to a permanent four-wheel-drive system.
Volkswagen says the new rally car will rocket from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds.
The car will be homologated next northern summer and the first deliveries are scheduled to occur shortly thereafter.
Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets said the Polo GTI R5 would start testing in December and the first cars would be in the hands of customer rally teams in the second half of 2018.
“With the Polo GTI R5 we are hoping to transfer our expertise from four WRC titles to customer racing successfully, and offer a first-class racing machine for countless rally championships from national series to the WRC,” Smeets said in a statement.
“Before the first race outing next year, we will subject the Polo GTI R5 to rigorous testing to make sure it is prepared for the extremely varied track conditions around the world.”
Volkswagen’s Polo claimed the double (the manufacturer’s and driver’s titles) in the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 World Rally Championships.