- Comeback: Dieter Depping and co-driver Timo Gottschalk back in the cockpit together
- The objective: to gather additional test kilometres at race pace for the customer vehicle
- The challenge: demanding asphalt tests around Zwickau
Test driving at race pace: Volkswagen development driver Dieter Depping (Wedemark) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (Rheinsberg) will line up in the AVD Sachsen Rallye (24/25 May) with the Polo GTI R5 with the aim of gaining additional insights for outings on asphalt tracks with the 200 kW (272 PS) four-wheel drive car. Dieter Depping won the German Rally Championship in 1992, 1993 and 1994 and later competed with Timo Gottschalk at, among others, the Dakar Rally. For many years, the 52-year-old Depping has served as the test driver for all Volkswagen Motorsport race and rally cars.
“The Polo GTI R5 is used by our customers around the world in a wide range of conditions,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “During test drives we can simulate many different demands, but in real competition, completely different situations, questions and challenges often arise. Therefore, we have decided to complete the rally in Saxony as a test under competitive conditions, which will primarily be about gaining additional insights into the use of the Polo GTI R5 on asphalt.”
The Polo GTI R5 is the customer vehicle from Volkswagen for rally racing, a car that is based on the Polo GTI for the road and which is eligible for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) as well as numerous national championships. That includes the German Rally Championship (DRM), in which the AvD Sachsen Rally serves as the second race. It will be held on challenging asphalt special stages around Zwickau.
Depping and Gottschalk a decade-old team
Depping and co-driver Gottschalk are a well-established team: they drove together for Volkswagen in 2009 in the Dakar Rally with a Race Touareg, before subsequently sitting in the cockpit together for the development of the Polo R WRC and the Polo GTI R5. “I have driven thousands of test kilometres with the Polo. To now also drive our customer vehicle in a competition is a great honour for me,” says Depping. The man from Lower Saxony already knows a small part of the total twelve special stages (with a total length of 148.34 kilometres), having driven the Dakar-winning Race Touareg as a non-classified advance car in 2012 – much to the delight of the fans.
“Obviously our focus is on the detailed test programme that we will be working on during the rally,” anticipates Depping. “That said, I’m very excited to see how we match up against the other teams in the German Rally Championship. And because the rally runs in front of the gates of the Volkswagen factory in Zwickau, hopefully we can expect the support of our home fans!”
Among the competition is also a Volkswagen Motorsport customer. The Belgian BMA team and team principal Bernhard Munster will take part for the first time with a Polo GTI R5 for the Lower Saxons Christian Riedemann and co-driver Michael Wenzel.
Time schedule for AvD Sachsen Rallye
Friday, 24 May 2019
4:30 p.m. Start in Zwickau
5:05 p.m. SS 1 Wolfersgrün 1 (11.50 km)
5:51 p.m. SS 2 Glück-Auf-Brücke 1 (6.27 km)
7:42 p.m. SS 3 Wolfersgrün 2 (11.50 km)
8:28 p.m. SS 4 Glück-Auf-Brücke 2 (6.27 km)
9:46 p.m. Stage finish in Zwickau
Saturday, 25 May 2019
7:15 a.m. Re-start in Zwickau
8:21 a.m. SS 5 Fraureuth (11.00 km)
9:19 a.m. SS 6 Pöhl 1 (14.00 km)
10:16 a.m. SS 7 Voigtländisches Mühlenviertel 1 (12.40 km)
11:08 a.m. SS 8 Pöhl 2 (14.00 km)
12:41 p.m. SS 9 Voigtländisches Mühlenviertel 2 (12.40 km)
1:44 p.m. SS 10 Fraureuth reverse (11.00 km)
3:58 p.m. SS 11 Crinitzberg 1 (20.00 km)
6:22 p.m. SS 12 Crinitzberg 2 – Power Stage (20.00 km)
7:10 p.m. Finish in Zwickau