Volkswagen Polo R WRC
|Category||World Rally Car|
|Chassis||Reinforced body with welded, multi-point roll cage built to FIA specifications|
|Suspension (front)||MacPherson type with ZF Friedrichshafen dampers|
|Suspension (rear)||same as front|
|Length||3,976 mm (156.5 in)|
|Width||1,820 mm (72 in)|
|Height||1,356 mm (53.4 in)|
|Axle track||1,610 mm (63 in)|
|Wheelbase||2,480 mm (98 in)|
|Engine||Custom-built Volkswagen 1.6 L (98 cu in) straight-four engine, turbocharged (with 33 mm (1.3 in) air restrictor), transversally mounted|
|Transmission||6-speed sequential manual transmission, transversally mounted with front and rear multi-plate limited-slip differential|
|Weight||1,200 kg (2,646 lb)|
|Tyres||Michelin competition tyres:
46 cm (18 in) tarmac,
38 cm (15 in) gravel
|Notable entrants|| Volkswagen Motorsport
Volkswagen Motorsport II
|Notable drivers|| Jari-Matti Latvala
|Debut||81ème Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo|
|Constructors' Championships||2013 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers|
|Drivers' Championships||2013 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers|
The Volkswagen Polo R WRC is a World Rally Car built and operated by Volkswagen Motorsport and based on the Volkswagen Polo for use in the World Rally Championship. The car, which made its debut at the start of the 2013 season, is built to the second generation of World Rally Car regulations that were introduced 2011, which are based upon the existing Super 2000 regulations, but powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine rather than the normally aspirated 2-litre engine found in Super 2000 cars. The Polo R WRC marks Volkswagen's second entry into the World Rally Championship as a manufacturer. Volkswagen Motorsport had previously entered the Volkswagen Golf GTI in rallies between 1983 and 1988 with some success, including six podium finishes and a win at the 19ème Rally Côte d'Ivorie. The company also made the Volkswagen Golf Mk3 and Mk4 available as a kit car to privateer entries during the Group A era from 1993 to 1997, though its use was mostly limited to national championships.
The car was extremely successful in its debut season, winning ten of the thirteen rallies it contested. Sébastien Ogier won the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers, whilst Volkswagen Motorsport secured the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers.
The Polo R WRC was officially unveiled in May 2011, and spent the next eighteen months in testing, with two-time World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz, Sébastien Ogier—who was recruited to the team from the Citroën World Rally Team at the end of the 2011 season—and Volkswagen's testing and development driver Dieter Depping carrying out development in Norway, Finland, Germany, Spain and Mexico to simulate the conditions the car would encounter in competition. The testing phase was not without incident; the team signed Ford's Jari-Matti Latvala in October 2012, but his first test in Mexico was cut short when he collided with a passenger car whilst travelling on public roads between stages. No-one was seriously injured in the crash, but the car was too damaged to continue testing. Further testing also took place in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur to prepare the cars for the unique snow and tarmac roads used in the Monte Carlo Rally, the first event of the 2013 season.
The car was originally intended to make its debut at the 2012 Rally d'Italia in Sardegna, but these plans were abandoned in favour of continuing development, and the car was submitted to the FIA in November for homologation. Parallel to this, Volkswagen Motorsport entered two Škoda Fabias built to Super 2000 specifications in twelve rounds of the 2012 season (and a third car in the 2012 Rallye Deutschland) to develop experience in running a World Rally Championship team. The final build of the car was formally launched in December 2012 in Monaco.
Competition debut (2013)
Two cars driven by Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala contested the full 2013 season of the World Rally Championship. Andreas Mikkelsen competed part-time throughout 2013 in a third car that was entered under the name "Volkswagen Motorsport II".
In its debut season, the car scored four wins in its first six rallies. After finishing second on the Rallye Monte Carlo, Sébastien Ogier went on to win the rallies of Sweden, Mexico, and Portugal. Jari-Matti Latvala scored his first win for Volkswagen in Greece. Following concerns that the cost of moving to a new specification for the 2014 season would drive Ford and Citroën out of the category, Volkswagen successfully lobbied to keep the current car spec for another year. Ogier continued his winning streak with victories in the Rally d'Italia Sardegna, Rally of Finland, and had the opportunity to secure the FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers at the Rally Deutschland. However, a mistake on the first leg forced him into retirement, and while he re-entered the following day under the Rally-2 regulations, doing so came with an automatic five-minute time penalty and Ogier finished seventeenth overall. Despite this, Ogier won the rally's power stage, and as a result, would go on to score points in every round of the championship.
Ogier had another opportunity to win the title in Australia, but Qatar World Rally Team driver Thierry Neuville—by this point, the only driver still in mathematical contention for the championship—finished the rally second overall, forcing the title fight to go unresolved until the next round in France. Ogier needed to out-score Neuville by just a single point to be declared the 2013 champion. He achieved on the first stage of the rally, which in a break with tradition, was run as the event's power stage. Ogier went on to win the rally, and finished the season with two more wins in Spain, where a second place finish for team-mate Latvala was enough to secure the Manufacturers' title for Volkswagen, and Wales, where Latvala against finished second.
At the end of the season, the Polo R WRC had won ten of the thirteen rallies it entered, finished on the podium eight more times, and secured both the Drivers' and Manufacturers' championships at the first attempt. In doing so, Ogier and Volkswagen broke Sébastien Loeb and Citroën's streak of nine consecutive World Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championship titles respectively.
Title defence (2014)
Complete World Rally Championship results
|1||2013||FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers||Sébastien Ogier||13||9||2||290|
|FIA World Rally Championship for Co-Drivers||Julien Ingrassia||13||9||2||290|
|FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers||Volkswagen Motorsport||26||10||8||450|
- World Rally Car
- Citroën DS3 WRC
- Ford Fiesta RS WRC
- Hyundai i20 WRC
- Mini John Cooper Works WRC
- Škoda Fabia S2000
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- Beer, Matt (3 August 2013). "WRC Finland: Ogier claims comfortable win, Neuville snatches second". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 20 November 2013.
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- "Germany WRC: Dani Sordo beats Thierry Neuville to first victory". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 25 August 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Beer, Matt (15 September 2013). "WRC Australia: Sebastien Ogier wins but must wait for title". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "WRC Spain: Ogier takes dramatic victory after comeback". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 27 October 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Capito's Delight after Title Double". WRC.com (WRC Promoter GmbH). Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- Anderson, Ben (17 November 2013). "Rally GB: Sebastien Ogier ends VW's dominant year with victory". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Jari-Matti Latvala not expecting to be Sebastien Ogier's number two". David Evans. Autosport.com. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
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