Volkswagen took the wraps off its brand-new, R5-specification Polo GTI rally car for the first time at a launch event in Mallorca, Spain on Monday night.
The new machine has been built to challenge for honours in the WRC 2 category and will be made available to teams and drivers through Volkswagen's customer racing department.
Volkswagen unveiled its latest rally car – designed and engineered by many of the personalities that steered the manufacturer to four WRC drivers' and manufacturers' titles between 2013 and 2016 – during the official driving presentation of its road-going Polo GTI.
The car is currently being put through a rigorous testing programme that started in mid-November and has already encompassed significant gravel and asphalt mileage in Fontjoncouse, France.
VW will take the Polo GTI R5 to Great Britain for its next phase of testing later this month. The car is expected to be homologated at the end of the summer in 2018, before making its WRC 2 debut shortly afterwards.
Volkswagen Motorsport Technical Director, François-Xavier “FX” Demaison, said: “The Polo GTI R5 came through the initial tests without any problems. The feedback from the test drivers was very positive.
“It is beneficial to be able to call upon an experienced team of engineers and mechanics, who helped to develop the Polo that won the world championship.
"As we have in the past, we are also taking advantage of the close and excellent cooperation with the colleagues in the technical development department in Wolfsburg, as well as our Škoda colleagues, who have been offering their customers an R5 car since 2015.”