Last month Sebastien Ogier gave the Polo its maiden stage win on the opening stage of the Monte, and went on to finish the rally second overall.
But ahead of the WRC’s next challenge on the snowy roads of Sweden, the boss of the Volkswagen team warned against reading too much into the show so far.
“After a good start to the season, the entire team now heads to the next challenge fully motivated and full of confidence. However, everyone in the team is well aware that the good result achieved in Monte Carlo is not yet a true indication of where we lie compared to the opposition,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito.
“Every rally is a test for the team. The processes in Monte Carlo recently were top-class. We want to follow on from this in Sweden and to continue developing from rally to rally,” he added.
Capito’s drivers were similarly cautious, at least in public, about their goals for the winter classic.
After struggling to find a confidence-inspiring set-up in Monte Carlo, then crashing out just as things were improving, Jari-Matti Latvala is relishing the chance to return to one of his favourite rallies.
The Finn, who has won the Swedish round twice before, has tested the Polo R WRC for 500 kilometres on snow and will slot in another day before the rally starts on Thursday 7 February. A two-time winner of the event, Latvala has set himself a modest ambition this year.
“My goal is to finish in the top five,” he said. “I really like the rally and the car works very well in these conditions. I am already very happy with the way it feels to drive. I have fond memories of the Rally Sweden, such as my very first WRC victory in 2008 and, of course, my win there last year.”
Ogier drove a Skoda Fabia S2000 to 11th place on Rally Sweden last year but has finished fourth and fifth previously with Citroen World Rally Cars.
“The season could hardly have started better for us. Heading to Sweden with 18 points to our name is a very nice position to be in. This allows us to relax a little. However, we are now faced with a new rally. Let’s see what we are capable of on this surface. It is hard to predict what awaits us there. We will have to wait until after the first few special stages,” he said.