Reigning world rally champions Volkswagen Motorsport has taken the wraps off its 2015 WRC title challenger, the Polo R WRC.
With a rigorous testing program in the lead-up to the first WRC round, the famous Rally Monte Carlo held over 22-25 January, VW has found time to unveil the updated livery in its Wolfsburg, Germany base.
Under the skin the changes are more about evolution to revolution, with the current-generation WRC regulations set to change for 2017. One key alteration has been to the gearshift, which has returned to a paddle-shift configuration, superseding the previous sequential shift.
The optimised look of the updated Polo R WRC is a result of thorough refinement, which saw up to 75 per cent of the 2014 components altered.
“The new Polo R WRC has undergone intense further development, both on the inside and the outside,” said Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development. “Not only does it look even more dynamic and sporty than it did before, but our engineers have also been working meticulously on technical innovations under the bonnet and have improved many detailed aspects of the package that has been so successful for the past two years. The focus of this further development was on efficiency, reliability and performance. We can hardly wait to see the new Polo R WRC in Monte Carlo and at the other twelve rallies on four continents.”
Reigning driver’s champion Sebastien Ogier was in buoyant mood at the unveiling: “I am very optimistic that the new car will get off to just as good a start as its predecessor. We have done a lot of testing and we drivers have worked very closely with the engineers. We put a lot of effort into developing the new shift paddle, which represents real progress. We are looking forward to the new season. It will be exciting to see how we fare against the other teams. The tests have gone well so far, and our engineers have done a good job. The Polo R WRC is even better than it was before.”
Runner-up in 2014, VW Polo R WRC number two Jari-Matti Latvala will look to further close the gap to Ogier in the coming season: “The new car feels really good, and we are ready for the new season – at last. We will be using the shift paddle on the steering wheel to change gear this year, and I really like it. On the whole, the new Polo is faster and even better than the 2014 car. I am not the only one to feel that way – Sebastien and Andreas agree with me. There is no question about it, we are looking forward to the 2015 season.”
Andreas Mikkelsen in the third car is fancied to take his first WRC victory in 2015: “First and foremost: the new design is really cool. I really like the new colours and new design, and am even a little bit prouder to be driving the Polo R WRC. I will still be driving the 2014 Polo at the start of the season, and will not switch to the ‘new’ car until the Rally Portugal. However, that is no problem. After all, our world championship winning car has more than proven itself, and is certainly anything but slow.”