Volkswagen are all set to confirm their entry into this year’s WRC, possibly appearing at the Rally Portugal on 24th March.
Although Volkswagen had originally wanted to go rallying in the Scirocco, the new WRC regulations meant that they had to go with the smaller Polo. Powering the Polo WRC will be a 1.6-litre turbocharged direct-injected engine, and we can expect to see the sensible German hatch sporting flared wheelarches and beefed-up bumpers. Perhaps this means that the will-they-won’t-they saga over the Polo R is at an end and we can expect to see the new hot Polo sometime soon.
Volkswagen are expected to follow in the footsteps of the other WRC newcomer, Mini, who are competing in a limited number of events in 2011 followed by a full campaign in 2012. Volkswagen are expected to use 2011 and 2012 for testing followed by a full assault on the championship in 2013.
Although Volkswagen haven’t competed in the WRC before, they are believed to have signed up some big names including rallying legend Carlos Sainz, former Citroen and Subaru engineer Francois-Xavier Demaison and potentially the current IRC champion, Juho Hanninen. They are also rumoured to have interest from ex-Subaru driver Petter Solberg, who has worked with Demaison in the past.
This just goes to show that the new regulations are a winner, as we’ll now have four manufacturers battling for the title instead of just two. Let’s hope we see even more joining in the fray.