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Polo GTI Somehow Beats Fiesta ST and Yaris GRMN in Wet Drag Race

Just as we've argued for many years, Volkswagen put a de-tuned 2-liter turbo in the Polo GTI baby hot hatch, but somehow, people are still saying it's too softcore. That hasn't affected sales, though performance is a little bit less than expected, at least in the drag races we saw during 2018.
Polo GTI Somehow Beats Fiesta ST and Yaris GRMN in Wet Drag Race 4 photos
Polo GTI Somehow Beats Fiesta ST and Yaris GRMN in Wet Drag RacePolo GTI Somehow Beats Fiesta ST and Yaris GRMN in Wet Drag RacePolo GTI Somehow Beats Fiesta ST and Yaris GRMN in Wet Drag Race
But with the weather turning wet and nasty in Britain, Lovecars put the GTI up against its main rivals and got different results. What rivals? The obvious one is the equally new Ford Fiesta ST with that zingy 1.5-liter turbo, along with the ultra-limited Yaris GRMN, the first hatch in a long time to be supercharged.

In theory, the Yaris should win this race quite easily. It's the lightest, and its 1.8-liter gets instant responses from the supercharger. So how has the Polo beaten it? Well, when the performance of FWD cars is very close, driver skill and ease of use start to play a part. Somehow, the Polo driver managed to do something everybody else couldn't which is not to get the gearbox to bog down off the line.

The GTI sprint ahead, but the Fiesta quickly launches past it. The race seems to be won by the twin-clutch gearbox clawing back lost ground doing a better job than a man with a stick can, even when that man is Tiff Needell.

The Polo also does decently well in the braking and reverse handbrake turns, but it's not designed for the autocross. You could say we're unjustifiedly supporting VW's product, but you've got to remember Tiff is as good as a stunt driver and he couldn't get the Fiesta ST to dance the way he wanted.

Once again, this is one of those races where everybody is a winner. The Yaris is rare, so if you've got one... enjoy. The Polo is comfortable and upmarket, while the Fiesta is fun and energetic.

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