VIDEO: Volkswagen Polo R WRC All Set For Rallye Monte Carlo WRC Debut

Finally, after years of development, months, 20,000 miles and 100 days of testing by the VW Motorsport team and dream team drivers, Jari-Matti Latvala and Sébastien Ogier (with seven WRC wins in total), the wait is almost over – the epic, historic Rallye Monte Carlo starts at 9am on Wednesday 16th January on the 45.27Km's of SS01, Le Moulinon. And we can not wait.  
Here's some footage of the car being tested in classic damp, cold, icy, snowy Monte conditions late last year, and it's looking good we reckon. Very good. Sure, both car and team have a lot to do and learn to catch up/keep up with the likes of Citroen and Ford, but we reckon the Dakar-victorious VW Motorsport team are set to make waves with their brand new Polo R WRC. Watch this space!
This epic rally will mark Volkswagen’s first ever season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) – in a brand new car with some 1,700 parts designed completely from scratch and 17 months of preparations, making its competitive debut. VW say: "The appearance of the Polo R WRC in the FIA World Rally Championship heralds a new era in motorsport for Volkswagen – and where better to make your debut than the legendary Rally Monte Carlo?"
"I cannot wait to finally getting going. The entire team at Volkswagen is looking forward to the WRC debut of the Polo WRC," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. "World Championship rallies in the top WRC class are new territory for the team. Furthermore, the Polo R WRC has been developed from scratch, features a lot of innovativeideas, and will be making its competitive debut. The ‘Monte’ will give us our first indication of how we compare with the opposition – our rivals already have two years’ experience of the regulations that came into force in 2011, and have been driving in the WRC for many years. Our goal for the Rally Monte Carlo is to gain as much experience as possible and to finish with both cars."
Jari-Matti Latvala, Polo R WRC #7 driver said: "I can hardly wait for the season to get started. I may already have five years as a works driver in the World Rally Championship under my belt, but both the Volkswagen Motorsport team and the Polo R WRC are new to me. As such, I will be making my debut in two regards. The tests up to now have shown that the Polo R WRC is very reliable. This is probably the most important finding so far – and a good basis for future technical developments over the course of the season. I have already developed a good feeling for the car on asphalt and snow, which is a good sign ahead of the Rally Monte Carlo. It is greatfun driving the Polo R WRC. It is very stable and the driveability of the engine is also very good. I would like to get the season off to a good start at the ‘Monte’. The result is not the top priority yet, although I would obviously love to pick up some World Championship points."
Sébastien Ogier, Polo R WRC #8 driver, adds: "The ‘Monte’ is a very special rally. After all, it is my home rally. However, the season- opener near my home will be an extraordinary experience for the entire team, as it is the first rally with the new Polo R WRC. We have been working towards this moment with Volkswagen for over a year. We can hardly wait to finally get started. However, it is difficult to judge how we will compare to the opposition, as we have not yet raced against the other teams under competitive conditions. Making your debut in a world championship with a completely new car is a big challenge, particularly as the other manufacturers have several years more experience than we do. For this reason we must be patient and concentrate at first on reaching the finish without any problems. Experience shows that this is anything but simple at the Rally Monte Carlo, as anything can happen at this event."
Can VW Motorsport – responsible for wins on the epic Rally Dakar in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with the Race Touareg – make the Polo R WRC a winner from Wolfsburg?
Only time will tell. But we are really chuffed to see VW back in rallying and committed to WRC for the forseeable. It's great for the sport and sure to be good for the brand. We are hoping for a load of hot WRC-style road car spin-off specials to light up their range.
The Volkswagen Polo R WRC will compete in nine WRC rounds: Monte Carlo/France, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Finland, Greece, France and Mexico. So, best of luck to all the VW Motorsport team in the Monte. Hear how they get on here and on their Facebook page.

Three questions for ... Jost Capito
1. If you could have chosen a rally for the Polo R WRC to make its debut at – would you have taken the Rally Monte Carlo?
"The Rally Monte Carlo is not only the most iconic rally on the World Championship calendar, but also the most difficult and complex. The surface alternates regularly between ice, snow, rain and dry asphalt, which can make the strategy difficult and tyre selection something of a lottery. We are obviously delighted that the Polo R WRC will make its debut at this highlight."

2. In Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala you have signed two very quick drivers. Who do you feel is the stronger?
"They are both equally strong. As a Scandinavian, Latvala grew up on gravel – however, he has made huge progress on asphalt in recent years. The same applies to Ogier, who also has what it takes to win on any surface. Both have seven WRC wins to their name. In the end it will come down to who performs best on the day to determine who is the quickest."

What goals does Volkswagen have for the 2013 season?
"We are aware that we will be up against strong opposition with decades of World Rally Championship experience. The Polo R WRC, on the other hand, is making its debut this year and the team also has a new look to it. As such, we have to set realistic goals. We want to make it onto the podium under our own steam in the second half of the year."


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