Although expected to follow on MINI's footsteps and do a part-time campaign next year and then fully focus on a title effort the season after, VW decided to run their car for the first time in 2013. As expected, the model used by the German carmaker for its first ever World Rally Car is the Polo, whose WRC appearance was showed to the media at a packed harbourside launch in Olbia.
“In the past, we celebrated our sporting success in the desert, in 2009 first manufacturer to win [Dakar] with diesel engine,” said Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board of management of Volkswagen brand.
“But to the future, we have invited you to entry into the World Rally Championship in 2013. The Polo WRC will compete for the first time in 2013 and we look forward to competing again WRC competitors Citroen, Mini and Ford.”
Although rumored to have offered 7-time world champion Sebastien Loeb a big contract to leave his long-time Citroen team and switch to VW, Hackenberg insisted no move has been made on the drivers market.
“There is almost 20 months between now and our first competition and we will find the drivers who can be in contention for first place. Now we must prepare for the task ahead. There is a lot to be done. We look forward to racing on four continents.”
Talking about the new Polo R WRC – to be powered by a 1.6-liter TSI engine and four-wheel drive – Luca de Meo, Head of Marketing of Volkswagen AG, insisted the German carmaker is eager to piggyback on the success it had in the Dakar Rally in recent years.
“Almost exactly two years ago, in May 2009, the most recent model of the Polo was presented here in Sardinia. Today we are proud to show you the hottest Polo of all time – the Polo R WRC. We look forward to this new challenge and are working on this project with the same passion with which we won the Dakar Rally in the past three years.”