Customers eager to
snap up private Polos
Drivers eager to get behind the wheel of Volkswagen's title-winning Polo R in next year's World Rally Championship must act quickly, team boss Sven Smeets has revealed.
Smeets said a number of 2016-spec Polo R world rally cars would be offered for customer use next year, and would be available on a first-come-first-served basis.
Following Volkswagen's shock decision to withdraw from the WRC at the end of the season, Smeets confirmed the current cars will be available for drivers competing in next year's proposed new class for privateers in 2016-spec machinery.
"At the end of 2016 we will restructure Volkswagen Motorsport into a more customer-related company," Smeets told wrc.com.
"We are looking into finding new challenges, new programmes, and I was happy to announce that we can rent out the 2016 cars next year. It's something new for us - and for everybody that is interested in driving a '16 car in WRC or national championships.
"We have had some contact already because news spreads quickly and interest comes very quickly. So after Rally Australia we will take this up and see - we will do it on a first-come-first-served basis."
Smeets acknowledged that supporting privateer drivers on events was another opportunity for the staff at Volkswagen Motorsport that were behind four consecutive FIA WRC drivers' and manufacturers' titles.
"If we have a lot of cars driving, with more people, then the better it will be," he said. "Of course, we are also making an R5 car, which will see daylight sometime at the beginning of 2018 and this will involve our people too."
Smeets also confirmed that Volkswagen was pressing on with the test and development programme of its 2017-spec Polo R - even though the car will not be homologated for WRC competition.
"We will do a last test in Sweden in two weeks to finalise the complete development," he said. "Then we will do FIA inspections and so on, but it will never be homologated because of course you have to have a manufacturer entry with two cars."