Polo R5 set for Spain debut

Volkswagen has chosen the WRC’s mixed surface RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España (25 - 28 October) for the debut of its Polo GTI R5.

Speculation had suggested the German manufacturer would opt for its home ADAC Rallye Deutschland in August for the car’s maiden competitive outing. But its homologation date was delayed to allow engineers to fine-tune the development.

The Polo will become eligible for the WRC 2 support category once homologated. It will join Citroën’s C3 R5, which debuted in Corsica earlier this month, and similar specification cars such as the Skoda Fabia, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai i20.

“The tests have gone well. The drivers who have tested the Polo GTI R5 have given very positive feedback. Despite this, we still want to change a few things before the car is finally homologated,” explained Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets.

There is no mention of who will drive in Spain, but reigning WRC 2 champion Pontus Tidemand and Eric Camilli are known to have tested the Polo.

Smeets said the mixed surface fixture, the only one of its kind in the WRC calendar, was ideal for the car’s first appearance.

“The Rally Spain is a very happy stomping ground for us. We celebrated our first world championship title here. You simply don’t forget moments like that.

“With its varying surfaces, the Rally Spain is obviously also excellently suited to a first really tough test under competitive conditions,” he added.

Gerard Jan de Jongh has led the development programme and said because the Polo was for customer use, it had to be developed carefully.

“Once the car has been successfully homologated, a customer often does not have the opportunity to make any changes or test the car thoroughly. For this reason, we’re taking the time to ensure we supply our customers with a fully-developed and fast Polo GTI R5 in October,” he said.

Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from YPF Rally Argentina, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.

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