At a press conference today, Jost Capito acknowledged that the team’s performance on the rallies in Monte-Carlo and Sweden had exceeded expectations and had enabled it to adopt a different approach for the Polo R’s debut on gravel.
“We can go to Mexico with confidence and just see what happens,” said Capito. “It’s the first gravel rally, with unique conditions, and we just go there without any real expectations and see how it goes. And that’s a very good start for the drivers too. They don’t have any pressure. The drivers can enjoy themselves driving.”
However Capito warned that the conditions in Mexico were likely to present more of a challenge to the fledgling Polo R than the opening two rounds.
“The first two rallies were really driver heavy,’ he explained. “We know that Sebastien and Jari-Matti are very quick, so when the drivers count more than the car I think we could expect to be competitive. Now when we go to ‘standard’ rallies the car counts more and the driver less. So far the car has been very reliable but the gravel rallies are much tougher so we will see how that works.”
Volkswagen carried out specific testing for Rally Mexico in 2012, running the Polo’s engine in a climatic chamber in Germany to simulate rally conditions, before confirming settings with a test in Mexico in November.
“We went to Mexico for a couple of days because when you enter the WRC you can’t test there any more. The conditions are very special so you have to prove that the car runs properly,” said Capito.
“We learned a lot there. But how the competitiveness is we will have to see. You can go testing all you like but as long as you are not on stages with other competitors then you really do not know.”
"They don’t have any pressure. The drivers can enjoy themselves driving.”