Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Jari-Matti Latvala and co-driver Miika Anttila at the 32. ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
|Category||World Rally Car|
|Designer(s)||Heinz-Jakob Neußer (Technical Director)|
|Predecessor||Volkswagen Golf GTI (1983—1988)
Škoda Fabia S2000 (2011—2012)[N 1]
|Chassis||Reinforced body with welded, multi-point roll cage built to FIA specifications|
|Suspension (front)||MacPherson-type struts with ZF Friedrichshafen dampers|
|Suspension (rear)||MacPherson-type struts with ZF Friedrichshafen dampers|
|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||Bespoke Volkswagen 1.6 L (98 cu in) straight-four engine, turbocharged with anti-lag system and 33 mm (1.3 in) air restrictor, transversally mounted|
|Transmission||Bespoke Volkswagen 6-speed sequential manual transmission, transversally mounted with front and rear multi-plate limited-slip differential|
|Weight||1,200 kg (2,646 lb) before drivers or fuel|
|Fuel||Customised controlled blend specified by FIA for all cars competing under World Rally Car regulations|
|Tyres||Michelin competition tyres:
46 cm (18 in) for tarmac events,
38 cm (15 in) for gravel rallies
|Notable entrants|| Volkswagen Motorsport
Volkswagen Motorsport II[N 2]
|Notable drivers|| Jari-Matti Latvala
|Debut||81ème Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo|
|First win||61st Rally Sweden|
|Last win||72nd Rally Poland|
|Last event||72nd Rally Poland|
|Constructors' Championships||2013, 2014 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers|
|Drivers' Championships||2013, 2014 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 and GTI 16V in rallies between 1983 and 1988 with some success, including six podium finishes and a win at the 19ème Rallye Côte d'Ivoire during the 1987 season. 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 from its debut, winning ten of the thirteen rallies it contested in its first season, and continuing the trend in its second with a further eleven wins. Sébastien Ogier won consecutive FIA World Rally Championships for Drivers in 2013 and 2014, whilst Volkswagen Motorsport secured the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers in both years.
- 1 Competition history
- 2 Use in other series
- 3 Complete World Rally Championship results
- 4 Footnotes
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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. As the team was not competing with a World Rally Car, they were ineligible for championship points. The final build of the Polo R WRC 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". Mikkelsen was entered separately to allow him an additional thirty days of testing for the year, rather than having to share the existing test quota for manufacturer teams with Ogier and Latvala.
In its debut season, the car scored six wins in its first eight 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)
In anticipation of its title defence in 2014, development of the car continued through the 2013-2014 off-season, with the team introducing a series of performance updates to the car ahead of the 2014 Rallye Monte Carlo. Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala remained with the team, whilst Andreas Mikkelsen's programme was expanded to include all thirteen rounds of the championship, but the team did not nominate him to score manufacturer points in Australia.
The car's domination continued, winning the first six rallies of the season. Ogier overcame difficult conditions to win in Monte Carlo by over a minute, before going on to win in Mexico, Portugal, Italy, and Poland, while Jari-Matti Latvala claimed wins in Sweden, Argentina and Finland. Andreas Mikkelsen scored his first podium at the World Championship level in Sweden, followed by a second in Poland, and finishing in the points in every rally. Latvala's win in Argentina, the ninth consecutive win by the Polo R WRC, broke the previous record of eight consecutive rally victories set by the Citroën DS3 WRC in 2011.
Ogier and Latvala had the opportunity to secure the 2014 World Championship for Manufacturers for Volkswagen in the Rally of Germany, but both of them crashed out of the event. With Mikkelsen finishing third overall—behind the Hyundai i20 WRCs of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo—the Polo R WRC's record-breaking run came to an end after twelve rounds. The team recovered to take a clean sweep of the podium in Australia, with Ogier winning ahead of Latvala to secure the manufacturers' title. Mikkelsen finished third overall, but was not registered to score manufacturer points.
Ogier had the opportunity to secure his second consecutive drivers' title in France, but lost nine minutes on the first day of the event with a faulty gear selector and a time penalty. Ogier was unable to recover and ultimately finished eleventh, allowing Latvala to take a full twenty-five points out of his championship lead with another win—the first of his career on tarmac—while Mikkelsen matched his career-best result of second place. Despite his problems in France, Ogier entered the penultimate round in Spain with a twenty-seven point advantage over Latvala. Running first on the road, he was unhindered by thick dust that threatened to obscure the vision of his rivals, and he took a comfortable victory and his second consecutive World Championship. Latvala finished the event second, with Mikkelsen struggling through the dust to seventh place. With his second World Championship title secured, Ogier went on to win the Wales Rally GB. Latvala and Mikkelsen struggled throughout, with Latvala finishing eighth and Mikkelsen retiring.
Second generation (2015)
The second generation of the Polo R WRC was put into development in early 2014, in anticipation of a 2015 debut, with an ongoing development schedule planned to take the second generation car through to the next revision of the technical regulations in 2017. Two-time World Drivers' Champion Marcus Grönholm joined the team's expanded testing and development programme, while the team retained Ogier, Latvala and Mikkelsen as their drivers. The car was updated to include a brand-new gearbox and revised hydraulic system, a larger rear wing to generate more downforce, and substantial weight reduction, with over seventy-five percent of the car having been developed during the off-season. Ogier and Latvala contested the entire season with the updated Polo, while Mikkelsen started the season with a car built to 2014 specifications before switching to the 2015 build ahead of the Rally of Portugal.
Volkswagen Motorsport took a clean sweep of the podium positions in the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally. Ogier won after an early battle with nine-time World Champion Sébastien Loeb—whose one-off guest appearance in a Citroën DS3 WRC came to an abrupt end when he crashed out on the second leg of the event—and recorded another win in Sweden despite losing several minutes in a spin and having to reclaim the rally lead from Mikkelsen. Ogier recorded another victory in Mexico, with Mikkelsen again on the podium. Latvala scored a podium in Monte Carlo, but was forced to retire in Sweden and finished seventeenth in Mexico, prompting team principal Jost Capito to admit that his drivers' championship campaign was potentially over after just three rounds.
After enduring a difficult Rally Argentina that saw Ogier finish outside the points and both Latvala and Mikkelsen retire, Volkswagen recovered to take a clean sweep of the podium in Portugal, led by Ogier. Ogier continued his form, winning the next two events in Italy and Poland, but faced stiff competition from Hyundai's Hayden Paddon and M-Sport driver Ott Tänak.
Use in other series
World Rally Championship-2 and World Rally Championship-3
Under the Group R regulations introduced in 2012, the Polo R WRC was homologated as a World Rally Car in such a way that it could be adapted to fit the Group R regulations as an R5 car for use in the newly-formed World Rally Championship-2 and World Rally Championship-3 feeder series. However, as Volkswagen's sister company Škoda developed the Škoda Fabia R5 for the same purpose, an R5 variant of the Polo R WRC was not put into production.
World Rallycross Championship
A variation of the Polo R WRC known as the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar was entered by Volkswagen Marklund Motorsport and Kristofferson Motorsport in the inaugural season of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The car was also eligible to compete in rounds of the FIA European Rallycross Championship accepting Supercar entries, and the Global Rallycross Championship after the series adopted Supercar regulations. The car was homologated under World Rally Car regulations and modified to fit the series' Supercar regulations, allowing for a two-litre engine with supercharger and a 45 mm (1.8 in) air restrictor. The radiator was relocated to the rear of the car to cope with the demands of competition. The Citroën DS3 WRC and Hyundai i20 WRC were similarly converted over to World Rallycross regulations owing to their existing homologations as World Rally Cars.
China Touring Car Championship
A Volkswagen Polo was entered into the China Touring Car Championship by the Shanghai VW 333 Racing Team from the 2011 season onwards. The car, known as the Volkswagen Polo 1.6T—so named for its 1.6 L (98 cu in), turbocharged engine—was entered under the series' Super Production rules, based on the existing Super 2000 and Super 1600 regulations for touring cars and rally cars. Following the competition debut of the Polo R WRC in 2013, the Polo 1.6T's aerodynamic package was updated to reflect the Polo R WRC, though the 1.6T name was retained to distinguish it.
Complete World Rally Championship results
WRC championship titles
|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||425|
|2014||FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers||Sébastien Ogier||13||8||2||267|
|FIA World Rally Championship for Co-Drivers||Julien Ingrassia||13||8||2||267|
|FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers||Volkswagen Motorsport||26||12||6||447|
- † — Season in progress.
- ‡ — Team ineligible to score manufacturer points.
|Record||Event||Previous record||Held by||Event|
|Most World Rally Championship wins in a season (12)||70th Wales Rally GB||10||Citroën DS3 WRC||68th Wales Rally GB|
|Most consecutive World Rally Championship wins (12)||64th Rally Finland||8||Citroën DS3 WRC||29. ADAC Rallye Deutschland|
|Highest percentage of wins in a World Rally Championship season (92.30%)||70th Wales Rally GB||76.92%||Citroën DS3 WRC||68th Wales Rally GB|
- The Škoda Fabia S2000 remained in use throughout the 2013 and 2014 seasons, competing in the World Rally Championship-2 under Group R regulations and in the European Rally Championship under Super 2000 rules.
- Volkswagen Motorsport II is operated by parent team Volkswagen Motorsport, but is structured as a separate team for points-scoring purposes.
- Volkswagen Motorsport
- World Rally Car
- Super 2000
- "Volkswagen extends WRC programme to 2019". WRC.com (WRC Promoter GmbH). 10 June 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Škoda Motorsport in 2013: Esapekka Lappi, WRC-2 and preparations for the future". skoda-auto.com (Škoda Auto). 30 November 2012.
- "Final Entrylist 30. Jännerrallye 2013 ERC" (PDF). Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Technical specifications". volkswagen-motorsport.com. Volkswagen Motorsport. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Evans, David (8 December 2012). "Mikkelsen confirmed for third VW". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- Williams, David; Davenport, John; McMaster, Colin (2000) . "Group A: 1987—1997". In Klein, Reinhardt. Rally Cars. Köln: Könemann. p. 420. ISBN 3-8290-4625-1.
- Williams, David; Davenport, John; McMaster, Colin (2000) . "Kit Cars". In Klein, Reinhardt. Rally Cars. Köln: Könemann. p. 529. ISBN 3-8290-4625-1.
- "Sordo's stage win seals Ogier's title". WRC.com. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Ogier clinches WRC title with victory". racer.com. 26 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Capito's Delight after Title Double". WRC.com (WRC Promoter GmbH). Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- Howard, Tom (14 September 2014). "Ogier fends off Latvala to clinch Rally Australia". SpeedCafe.com. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- "The Making Of — the development and the test programme of the Polo R WRC". volkswagen-motorposrt.com. Volkswagen Motorsport. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Evans, David (17 October 2012). "Volkswagen confirms Latvala for 2013". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 17 October 2012.
- Evans, David (30 November 2012). "Jari-Matti Latvala road accident halts Volkswagen's Mexico WRC test". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "Essais Prés-Monte Carlo 2013 Polo WRC Sébastien Ogier" [Sébastien Ogier tests the Polo WRC for the 2013 Monte Carlo Rally]. Global Rally Chain (in French). YouTube. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Evans, David (28 September 2012). "Rally GB to conclude the 2013 WRC season". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Evans, David (12 July 2012). "WRC Polo set for Rally d'Italia debut". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Evans, David (8 December 2012). "VW targets podium in first WRC year". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Weeks, James (23 November 2011). "Ogier joins Volkswagen WRC programme". motorstv.com (Motors TV). Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Evans, David (19 January 2013). "Monte Carlo Rally: Loeb wins as final stages cancelled". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- "Ogier brings first WRC win for VW at Rally Sweden". Speedcafe.com. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- "Ogier secures Mexico victory". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 11 March 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- "Ogier wraps up third straight win". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 14 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- "Latvala seals first VW win in Greece". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 2 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- Burrows, Gus (20 June 2013). "Volkswagen halt 2014 development to ensure WRC future". SpeedCafe.com. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- Evand, David (22 June 2013). "Ogier claims fourth victory of 2013". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- Beer, Matt (3 August 2013). "WRC Finland: Ogier claims comfortable win, Neuville snatches second". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Germany WRC: Sebastien Ogier loses lead after Friday off". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 23 August 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "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.
- Anderson, Ben (17 November 2013). "Rally GB: Sebastien Ogier ends VW's dominant year with victory". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Volkswagen ready for battle". WRC.com. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "Jari-Matti Latvala not expecting to be Sebastien Ogier's number two". David Evans. Autosport.com. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- "Rallye Monte Carlo 2014 Entry List" (PDF). ACM.mc. Automobile Club Monte Carlo. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- "2014 Rally Sweden Entry List" (PDF). rallysweden.com. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
- "Monte Carlo Day Three Update #4". WRC.com. 18 January 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- Mitchell, Scott (9 March 2014). "Rally Mexico: Sebastien Ogier wins in dominant Volkswagen 1-2". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Fourth Portugal win for Ogier". WRC.com. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Sebastien Ogier wins in Italy". Speedcafe.com. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "WRC Poland: Sebastien Ogier clinches Rally Poland victory". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 29 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
- Evans, David (8 February 2014). "Jari-Matti Latvala clinches win in VW one-two". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Latvala wins Argentina". WRC.com. 11 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "WRC Finland: Latvala resists VW team-mate Ogier to claim home win". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 3 August 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Rally Germany: Neuville and Hyundai take maiden win". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 24 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
- "WRC: Latvala holds lead into day two". racer.com. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- "Latvala breaks tarmac duck with French win". Speedcafe.com. 5 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- Evans, David (18 March 2014). "VW plan early debut for 2015 Polo World Rally Car". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Grönholm takes VW test role". WRC.com. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- "VW keeps Ogier, Latvala, Mikkelsen in 2015 World Rally Championship". Autosport.ccom (Haymarket Publications). 23 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "Volkswagen uncovers its 2015 WRC fighter". Speedcafe.com. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- "Sébastien Ogier continues perfect WRC start". SpeedCafe.com. 9 March 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
- "Specific regulations for cars in Groups R" (PDF). FIA.com. Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 19 May 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
- Ridge, Hal (20 February 2014). "Volkswagen enters World Rallycross Championship with Marklund". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 20 February 2014.
- "VW Dealer Team Sweden plan World RX future". rallycrossrx.com. IMG Motorsport. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- Ridge, Hal (20 January 2014). "Toomas Heikkinen joins Marklund for 2014 World Rallycross". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publication). Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Drivers & Teams". redbullglobalrallycross.com. Red Bull House Media. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- "Article 279 — 2012: Règlement Technique pour Voitures de Rallycross et d'Autocross" [Technical Regulations for Rallycross and Autocross Cars] (in French). FIA. 28 September 2012.
- "Petter Solberg's Citroën DS3 Supercar". pettersolberg.com. Petter Solberg.
- Ridge, Hal (1 February 2014). "Frode Holte unveils Hyundai i20 for World Rallycross". Autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 10 February 2014.
- "Preview: 2011 China Touring Car Championship". Touring Car Times (Mediaempire Stockholm AB). 7 April 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- "Rob Huff tests Volkswagen CTCC car in Shanghai". Touring Car Times (Mediaempire Stockholm AB). 16 August 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Volkswagen Polo R WRC.|
Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak
Rally Car of the Year