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Making of, part I.

The development and the test programme of the Polo R WRC.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF

THE POLO R WRC

The journey from concept car to World Rally Car.

And suddenly it was there. In May 2011, the Polo R WRC was unveiled to motor sport experts for the first time on the island of Sardinia. Under the glare of the spotlights, the starting signal was given for the journey to the World Rally Championship. The prototype, known internally as the ‘Polo R WRC Concept Car’, was actually a ‘hybrid’. Under the bodywork there was still a lot of technology from the Fabia Super 2000, which subsidiary company Skoda already uses for rally sport.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Concept Car.

Stage 1

DYNAMISM TAKES

SHAPE

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Concept Car.

POWERED BY HEART

AND SOUL

Since the technical regulations in the categories ‘World Rally Car’ and ‘Super 2000’ are identical in many areas, Volkswagen wanted to use the World Rally Championship in 2012 to test as many components of the future Polo R WRC as possible in the shortest space of time. The engineer’s attention was especially focused on the chassis and drivetrain. Instead of the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine from the Fabia, a variation of the 1.6-litre TSO turbo engine from Volkswagen was used.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Concept Car.

POLO R WRC CONCEPT CAR.

TO BE CONTINUED.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Concept Car.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Concept Car.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Concept Car.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Concept Car.

BACK IN THE WILD

In spring 2012, the so-called ‘Polo R WRC Test Car’ emerged, based on the insights gained from the ‘Polo R WRC Concept Car’. This time, the chassis was also constructed by the Volkswagen Motorsport engineers and the first Polo R WRC to be built entirely in Hanover was finished. The test team once again got down to work. The newly signed works driver Sébastien Ogier, development driver Dieter Depping and the two-time world champion Carlos Sainz took turns behind the wheel. The Polo R WRC covered thousands of test kilometres in the deep snow of Norway, on the dusty gravel tracks of Spain and Portugal and along the asphalt roads of Germany and France.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Concept Car.

Stage 2

THE NEXT EVOLUTIONARY

STAGE IS SPARKED

Of course, it’s just not possible for a World Rally Car to hide in the darkest forests of Finland – and that is why rally fans were getting all worked up again in September 2012. On the gravel tracks near Jamsä, the next evolutionary stage of the Polo R WRC jumped over countless hills at high speed – well camouflaged and thus only recognisable by the more angular wing extensions, modified air inlets on the bonnet and a new rear spoiler. The aerodynamics team at Volkswagen Motorsport clearly did a good job.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Test Car.

Stage 3

BEARERS OF SECRETS

Only the team members know that quite a bit has also changed under the largely composite carbon-fibre and Kevlar bodywork. After all, you don’t want to show your hand to the competition too early. At the beginning of November, further secrets will be disclosed – unavoidably. That’s because Volkswagen Motorsport has to submit all the technical documentation for the Polo R WRC to the FIA in Paris. Only by doing so will it be possible to receive the necessary homologation before 1 January 2013. Just in time for the start of the new season at the Monte Carlo Rally.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Test Car.

THE POLO R WRC

TEST PROGRAMME

Leave nothing to chance.

 

The engineers, mechanics and logistics experts at Volkswagen Motorsport all have plenty of experience. After all, this is the team that won the Dakar Rally three times in succession. However, the rallies in the world championship have about as much in common with the desert marathon as a Touareg has with a Polo. In order to be optimally prepared for every last detail of the world championship routes when the team starts battling it out for championship points in 2013, Volkswagen Motorsport entered all but one of the world championship runs in 2012.

 

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Test Car.

Test programme

FIND OUT WHAT IT’S

ALL ABOUT

Since the Polo R WRC won’t be entitled to compete in the Monte Carlo Rally until 2013, the team entered two Fabia Super 2000 cars from the Skoda subsidiary. With two-litre, naturally aspirated engines and small spoilers, they belong in a different category to the World Rally Cars. Overall victory? No chance! But that’s not the point. ‘Results are irrelevant,’ says Motorsport director Jost Capito. ‘It’s about getting to know the specific ins and outs of every world championship rally.’ How does the training work in the Argentina Rally? How do you optimally protect man and material from the cold in the Sweden Rally? Where is the best place to position the weather spies in the Spain Rally? In this way, every team member finds out what they need to know one year in advance.

EVEN THE YOUNG TALENT

HAS TO PROVE ITSELF

Volkswagen Motorsport ultimately also used the 2012 season to test the young talent. The Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen and the Dutchman Kevin Abbring also took their turn driving the second Skoda. In the Germany Rally, a third Fabia was even used. Behind the wheel was the young German hope Sepp Wiegand, and he also did an outstanding job: with his co-pilot, ‘Dakar’ winner Timo Gottschalk, he was the best German in the field in a sensational eleventh place – until he had to retire due to suspension damage.

THE DRESS REHEARSAL

Three days in 2012. The huge area that makes up the Volkswagen test site in Ehra-Lessien is dominated by the roaring and growling of the Polo R WRC. This is where the Volkswagen works drivers go to carry out a dry run – a complete round of the WRC.

INTO THE AUTUMN SUN

WITH 200 km/h.

The image shows the development stage of the Polo R WRC Test Car.