After the Polo R WRC comes the Polo GTI R5. With the World Rally Car version of the Polo, the Volkswagen works team won four FIA World Rally Championship titles between 2013 and 2016. The production-based successor model was developed according to category R5 regulations and is intended exclusively for customer racing. Volkswagen Motorsport has already sold 15 models of the Polo GTI R5 to customers in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Paraguay, Portugal and Sweden.
Volkswagen Motorsport presented the new rally car to customers shortly before homologation. Representatives of the privateer teams visited the headquarters in Hannover, where they experienced the 200 kW (272 PS) four-wheel drive together with test driver Dieter Depping (D) at a test centre in nearby Sulingen. “The Polo GTI R5 has completed around 9,000 test kilometres to date, half of which were on gravel and half on asphalt,” explained Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “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,” added 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.”
Competitive debut at WRC event in Spain at the end of October
The homologation of the Polo GTI R5 is planned for 01 October 2018. Before being licensed for motorsport, the Polo GTI R5 will have completed around 10,000 test kilometres in total. In addition to the WRC2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship, the new customer racing rally car will also be in action in interregional championships such as the FIA European Rally Championship and numerous national championships.
“When defining the specification, we took great care to ensure that 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 for the Polo GTI R5 and former race engineer of World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier.
Before the first customer cars are delivered, further test drives and the competitive debut are scheduled. At the Rally Spain from 25 to 28 October 2018, the Polo R5 GTI will take on its rivals in the WRC2 class at world championship level for the first time. And for the Volkswagen Motorsport team, it will be a mini comeback after the final race in Australia 2016, since Volkswagen Motorsport will be taking care of the car at the debut. “We will compete at the Rally Spain with two cars from our own team,” said Smeets. “The aim is to demonstrate the competitiveness of the new Polo GTI R5 at the highest level and on different surfaces.”