Get R-eady: Volkswagen Starts Testing Its Polo R Rally Car
Volkswagen's already shown its latest rally weapon - the Polo R WRC car - to the world, but as the 2013 World Rally Championship season grows ever closer, the automaker's motorsports teams are hard at work testing and readying the car for competition.
The Polo R is, as the name suggests, is a rally version of the current Volkswagen Polo hatchback. While the most powerful Polo available at VW dealers is powered by a 178 horsepower turbo- and supercharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the Polo R rally car packs a 300 horsepower punch, which is sent through an all-wheel drive system.
The testing happened in Veldenz, Germany, which is part of the stage of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Behind the wheel of the new Polo rally racer: Carlos Sainz, two-time WRC champion and Dakar Rally winner, as well as Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, one of the members of Volkswagen's Board of Management for Development. The verdict: "the car is in an early stage but already feels very good," Sainz said.
Will the Polo R be as successful as VW's off-road rally trucks? Time will tell, but Volkswagen seems to have some momentum. Although the Polo R is the Volkswagen brand's first foray into WRC and rally cars in some time, Skoda - VW's Czech subsidiary - has been dabbling in the sport for some time. The company came in second for both the driver's and manufacturer's championships for the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2009. Better yet, the Fabia S2000 brought home the driver's and manufacturer's championship titles in the 2010 S-WRC series.
Here's hoping some of that success trickles to the VW Group's latest rallying effort.