Thursday, 26/04/2018

Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Competitive debut in Spain.

The ideal rally, at which to make a debut: Volkswagen will make its first competitive outing with the Polo GTI R5 at the Rally Spain (25 to 28 October 2018). The 200-kW (272-PS) car for customers competing in rallies around the world – such as those in the WRC 2 category, the European Rally Championship and national championships – will be given a baptism of fire at the most diverse rally in the FIA World Rally Championship. The event in Catalonia is held on both asphalt and gravel, with the teams given just 75 minutes to completely convert the chassis and many other components. For Volkswagen, the Rally Spain also represents the perfect event from another perspective: The manufacturer went undefeated on each of the four occasions that the Polo R WRC took to the route here in the top echelon of the World Rally Championship, and it was here that the brand claimed its first title in the Manufacturers’ Championship in 2013.


“The Rally Spain is a very happy stomping ground for us,” said Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. “We celebrated our first world championship title here. You simply don’t forget moments like that. With its varying surfaces, the Rally Spain is obviously also excellently suited to a first really tough test under competitive conditions.”


Dawn of a new era in rallying: The Polo GTI R5 for customer sport


Volkswagen achieved an awful lot in just four years in the World Rally Championship – 12 titles, 43 of a possible 52 race wins, and 640 stage wins. With the Polo GTI R5, Volkswagen is now embarking on a new chapter in rallying, with the goal being to add to that successful record – in customer sport. As such, Spain has been carefully selected for the debut. It gives the engineers a little more time to ensure the car is fully and optimally developed. Originally planned for late summer, the homologation has now been put back by a few weeks to 01 October 2018. “The tests have gone well. The drivers who have tested the Polo GTI R5 have given very positive feedback,” says Smeets. “Despite this, we still want to change a few things before the car is finally homologated.”


Gerard Jan de Jongh, Technical Project Lead Polo GTI R5 and world champion Sébastien Ogier’s former race engineer, adds: “A customer car must almost be developed even more thoroughly than a World Rally Car for a works team. Once the car has been successfully homologated, a customer often does not have the opportunity to make any changes or test the car thoroughly. For this reason, we are taking the time to ensure that we supply our customers with a fully-developed and fast Polo GTI R5 in October.”

Monday, 12/03/2018


Get close to the 2015 World Rally Champion.

Five overall victories and a world championship title – the Polo R WRC with chassis number 25 was the key to success in the 2015 World Rally Championship for Volkswagen factory driver Sébastien Ogier. The Autostadt in Wolfsburg is showcasing the winning car until early May on the ground floor of the ZeitHaus museum.


The car on display is a loan from Volkswagen Motorsport. It competed in twelve FIA ​​World Rally Championship events in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Sébastien Ogier won five of these races – including the legendary Monte Carlo Rally – with this World Rally Car in 2015 and celebrated his third consecutive world title. 


Together with co-driver Julien Ingrassia, the Frenchman also scored important points for the prestigious Manufacturer's Championship title for Volkswagen. The 2016 season finale in Wales was the last rally for the Polo R WRC with chassis number 25.


Volkswagen dominated the World Rally Championship from 2013 to 2016. Together with three outstanding driver teams, the redeveloped Polo R WRC laid the foundation for success and 43 overall victories for the Volkswagen Motorsport team. The company's WRC involvement spawned four World Championship titles each in the driver, co-driver, and manufacturer's categories.


During the Polo R WRC development phase from 2011 to 2013, Volkswagen engineers were supported by Dakar winner Carlos Sainz and German Rally Champion Dieter Depping. With 621 best times in 935 special stages, the Volkswagen Polo R WRC is still regarded as the best rally car in WRC history.


Visit the Autostadt website.

Monday, 19/02/2018

2018 Rally Sweden

Petter Solberg thrills fans at Swedish rally classic.

Petter Solberg (N) took victory at the Rally Sweden in class 9 of the competition for vintage rally cars. Solberg was driving alongside his wife Pernilla, who served as co-driver to the 2003 world rally champion. The husband and wife team finished second overall out of the historic cars on the Swedish stages. Solberg had swapped his Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar, with which he usually starts in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX), for a vintage Ford Escort in Sweden. “We had a fun weekend,” said the 2014 and 2015 WRX champion. “We are happy with the result, and it was fantastic to see all the fans out on the stages.”


Solberg’s PSRX team-mate Johan Kristoffersson (S) was also in action in Sweden. The reigning world Rallycross champion with Volkswagen finished sixth in the WRC2 class in a Skoda Fabia R5. “I am really happy with our weekend,” said Kristoffersson. “I did not intend to fight for positions. The main goal was to finish the rally and to develop my skills for the WRX joker laps. Finishing sixth in our class with two stage wins is fantastic.” 


More information:

Monday, 03/02/2018

2018 Rally Sweden

Kristoffersson and Solberg start the classic rally event in Sweden.

Johan Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg will line up at this year's Rally Sweden (15-18 February). Freshly-crowned WRX champion Kristoffersson will swap his 570-hp Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar, with which he won the title in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX) in November, for a Skoda Fabia R5. "Changes to the timing of our preparations for the new rallycross season with Volkswagen have made it possible to start in Sweden," says Kristoffersson. "I am already really looking forward to the event, as it is always helpful to be in race mode as often as possible." This is the 29-year-old's second start at the Rally Sweden. In 2016, he finished eleventh in the WRC2 class.


Meanwhile, Solberg will start alongside his wife Pernilla in a Ford Escort RS1800 in the class for vintage cars. In 2013 and 2015, Solberg dominated the historic Rally Sweden. This year, the 2003 world rally champion is expecting a bigger challenge. "Last time we beat a few Audi Quattros," says Solberg. "This year, there will be far more four-wheel drive cars in action. As such, we are now focussing on the opposition with two-wheel drive."

Monday, 29/01/2018

Polo R5 GTI

GTI meets “Monte”: New rally Polo makes guest appearance in Monaco.

Flying visit for the Polo GTI R5: The new rally car for customer sports was on display during the driving event for the new Volkswagen up! GTI* in Monte Carlo (MC). The Polo GTI R5 was exhibited in a particularly prominent location in the Mediterranean principality: in the world famous “Rascasse” corner of the Grand Prix circuit. The Rally Monte Carlo (26–28 January) was also held this weekend, making it the perfect opportunity for the new racer to strut its stuff in front of an expert audience. The Polo GTI R5 itself could well go in search of world championship points for the first time at the iconic “Monte” in January 2019.


* up! GTI 1.0 TSI, 85 kW / fuel consumption in l/100 km (WLTP): combined 5.7–5.6; CO2 emissions in g/km: 129–127 (combined). Fuel consumption in l/100 km (NEFZ): urban 6.0/extra-urban 4.1/combined 4.8; CO2 emissions in g/km: 110 (combined), efficiency class: C.

Sunday, 28/01/2018

Volkswagen in Customer Sports

Tuesday, 23/01/2018


Volkswagen in Customer Sports

All over the world: First customers confirmed for the new Polo GTI R5.

The anticipation is half the fun: Shortly before the start of the 2018 rally season, Volkswagen has now provided the first 15 customers with information on the delivery of their new Polo GTI R5*. Development of the four-wheel drive rally car for the customer sports scene, which is based on the new sixth generation Polo, began at the start of last year, and the new car was presented to the public for the first time in December. Demand for the new rally Polo is great – not least because the Polo GTI R5 incorporates all the know-how of its predecessor, which won four world titles in the pinnacle of rallying, the WRC.

“We are overwhelmed by the positive feedback on the Polo GTI R5,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “The customer demand is enormous. We are obviously pleased about this, and it is an additional motivation to provide the teams with the best possible rally car.”

No distance is too great: Roughly 11,000 kilometres as the crow flies to reach the customer

15 of the 272-hp Polo GTI R5 are set to be delivered to the first customers in the second half of this year. Three cars will be sent to Austria and the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing GmbH team run by Austria rally champion Raimund Baumschlager, who won the 2017 Austrian Rally Championship with a Polo R WRC. Three cars have also been sold to teams from Belgium: two to BMA and one Polo GTI R5 to THX Racing.

Two Polo GTI R5s will be on their way to the Printsport Oy team in the home of rallying, Finland. Printsport has succesfully implemented projects with young and talented drivers like Esapekka Lappi, Ole Christian Veiby and Jari Huttunen. They currently have Lukasz Pieniazek from Poland and Emil Lindholm, son of multiple Finnish champion Sebastian Lindholm, in their team. A further two Polo GTI R5s will be run by the HK Racing team in Italy. One rally GTI will also be sent to Portugal. And a GTI R5 has also been sold to Sweden and Kristoffersson Motorsport.

The longest journey – almost 11,000 kilometres as the crow flies – will be undertaken by three Polo GTI R5s, as they are shipped to the South American country of Paraguay. Miguel Carrizosa/DIESA S.A., a Volkswagen importer in Paraguay, will run the cars at national events there.


“We assemble each car by hand in our workshop in Hannover,” said Juliane Gründl, head of sales and distribution at Volkswagen Motorsport. “We are on schedule. However, we are still in the process of structuring production, and in the implementation phase in the aftersales area. We obviously want to be ideally positioned in time for the sales launch.”

Monday, 15/01/2017

Autosport Sport International

Polo GTI R5 makes its first public appearance at the Autosport Show.

Following the successful international debut of the new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in Mallorca (E) at the start of December, the four-wheel drive rally car for Volkswagen’s customer teams has now made its first public appearance. Motorsport enthusiasts were able to check out the 272-hp Polo GTI R5, which is based on the sixth generation of Polo, at close hand at the Autosport Show International in Birmingham (GB). The development of the Rally Polo, which has been in full swing since the start of 2017, has incorporated all the experience and know-how acquired by during the successful period in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), which saw Volkswagen win four world titles between 2013 and 2016.

Following the first successful tests on asphalt and gravel last November and December, more tests are now planned, in order to be able to deliver the Polo GTI R5 to the first customer sport teams in time for its first rally outings in the second half of this year.

More information:

Monday, 04/12/2017

Volkswagen in Customer Sports

The rally sports car: World premiere of the new Polo GTI R5.

The stage is set for the rally GTI: The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 enjoyed a successful world premiere. The four-wheel drive rally car for customer sports, which is based on the sixth and latest generation of the new Polo, was introduced to the public for the first time at the official driving presentation of the Polo GTI in Mallorca on Monday evening. The development of the new rally sports car incorporated the experience and know-how acquired whilst winning four world titles in the pinnacle of rallying, the WRC, from 2013 to 2016.

“Presenting the new Polo GTI R5 to the public was a magnificent moment,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “The close relationship to the road-going Polo GTI is unmistakable. In the rally Polo, the GTI family has another spectacular ambassador. Our team and the colleagues at Volkswagen Design in Wolfsburg deserve great credit for this. Over the coming months, the Polo GTI R5 must prove itself in a series of tough scenarios, in order to ensure that it can build on the success of its predecessor in the customers’ hands.”

Initial tests successful

Development of the Polo GTI R5 has been in full swing since the start of the year. Initial tests on asphalt and gravel took place in mid-November in Fontjoncouse, France, and will continue in Great Britain in December. Responsibility for the entire project lies with Technical Director François-Xavier “FX” Demaison, as well as Project Manager Jan de Jongh, who, as race engineer, looked after world champion Sébastien Ogier’s Polo R WRC from 2013 to 2016.

“The Polo GTI R5 came through the initial tests without any problems. The feedback from the test drivers was very positive,” says Demaison. “It is obviously 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. And it goes without saying that, 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.”

As in the GTI for the streets: four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection

Like the production model – the new Polo GTI – the Polo GTI R5 has a powerful straight four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection, which is mounted transversely in front of the front axle. The capacity of the rally car is limited to 1.6 litres, in accordance with regulations. This is sufficient to generate an impressive 200 kW (272 hp) and maximum torque of 400 Newton metres. A close-stepped, sequential, five-speed racing gearbox and permanent four-wheel drive achieve outstanding acceleration on any surface – whether asphalt, gravel or snow. Weighing just 1,230 kilograms, the rally GTI accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds.

The four-door, steel chassis, which serves as the basis for the assembly, is manufactured at the production plant in Pamplona, Spain. In accordance with FIA regulations, it is strengthened with a role cage and other safety components. The first deliveries to customer sports teams, and the first competitive outings, are planned for the second half of the year.

In 2012, the International Automobile Federation FIA passed the R5 regulations for a new generation of rally cars, aimed primarily at customer teams, talented youngsters and privateers. Since then, more than 400 cars have been produced by five different manufacturers and have been in action in national and international championships all over the world.

Montag, 27/11/2017

Rally car for customer racing

Successful first test outing for the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.


First tough test passed: The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 has successfully completed its first test kilometres in Fontjoncouse, France. Volkswagen test driver Dieter Depping and Swedish WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand spent three days testing the new 270-hp rally car for customer racing, which is based on the sixth and latest generation of the production Polo, in demanding conditions.


“A successful first test is a good sign and great motivation,” said a satisfied Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets. “After the many hours and weeks spent working on our latest customer racing project on the computer, in the design process and in the workshop, the Polo GTI R5 can now finally show what it is capable of out on the road, and we can gain valuable data for the further development of the car.”


First up on a 3.85-kilometre asphalt route, in dry conditions and with the temperature hovering around ten degrees Celsius, was work on the set-up. With the route alternating between fast and winding sections, the durability of the tyres, brakes, engine and cooling system were tested. The following two days were spent on stony surfaces: The four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 successfully mastered the rough gravel routes, which put a huge amount of strain on the chassis, dampers and suspension. The venue for the tests was familiar territory for the Polo: It was here in 2011 that Volkswagen carried out the first test on the Polo R WRC, which went on to win the World Rally Championship four times in a row between 2013 and 2016. Dieter Depping was also at the wheel of the test car back then.


“It is a special feeling to be back here, where the Polo embarked on its first rally adventure roughly six years ago,” said Volkswagen test driver Depping. “It is now about achieving the best possible set-up for the new Polo GTI R5. This first test was primarily about getting a lot of kilometres under our belt, in order to give the engineers as much data as possible. I can tell you one thing now: The R5 Polo is also very good, very quick and precise. I immediately felt right at home!”


Volkswagen is expanding its customer racing programme with the new Polo GTI R5, and is offering the new rally car to professional teams and drivers eligible to compete in national and global championships, as well as the WRC2 category of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), from the second half of 2018.

Monday, 13/11/2017

Austrian Rally Championship

Baumschlager sets new world record in the Polo R WRC.


Raimund Baumschlager (A) has won the Austrian Rally Championship. The 57-year-old won the Rally Waldviertel (A) at the wheel of the Volkswagen Polo R WRC to claim his 14th title in the national championship. In doing so, Baumschlager set a new world record: no driver in the world has ever won 14 national champion titles.


The final round of the ORM could hardly have been more exciting: the Austrian, together with co-driver Primin Winklhofer (A) trailed defending champion Herrmann Neubauer (A/Ford) by 0.8 seconds going into the 14th and final special stage. This would have made Baumschlager the runner-up in the championship. However, the man from Salzburg went for broke in his Polo on the final stage, beating Neubauer by 5.4 seconds to win the title by four points.


The experienced Austrian was understandably delighted: “Given the way that the championship and, above all, the finale panned out, I have to say that this is my nicest title. Also because it will most probably be my last national title.” Victory at the Rally Waldviertel was Baumschlager’s third of the season, having previously won the Rebenland Rally and the Škoda Rally Liezen.


More information:

Tuesday, 07/11/2017

FIA World Rally Championship

Volkswagen gives sneak preview of new Polo GTI R5.


The GTI for rallying: With the Polo GTI R5, Volkswagen returns to rallying under a new guise. In the second half of 2018, Volkswagen will make the 270 hp rally version of the Polo available to professional teams and aspiring drivers to enable them to compete in championships across the globe – including the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). A sketch of the car, which is based on the new Polo of the sixth generation, gives a foretaste of what’s to come.


“With the Polo GTI R5 we are hoping to transfer our expertise from four WRC titles to customer racing successfully, and offer a first-class racing machine for countless rally championships from national series to the WRC,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “Before the first race outing next year, we will subject the Polo GTI R5 to rigorous testing to make sure it is prepared for the extremely varied track conditions around the world.”


The development of the Polo GTI R5 has been in full swing since the start of the year, with initial test drives planned for this year. The experience gained from the successful WRC era is being incorporated directly: Volkswagen Motorsport Technical Director François-Xavier “FX” Demaison, father of the record winning Polo R WRC, is responsible for the development of the Polo GTI R5. And Gerard-Jan de Jongh also brings all his expertise as the senior project engineer. The Dutchman was previously Sébastien Ogier’s race engineer; Ogier won the drivers’ title with Volkswagen four times in a row.


Like the production model – which is due to be launched at the end of this year – the Polo GTI R5 has a powerful four-cylinder turbo engine with direct fuel injection. Other features include four-wheel drive, a sequential five-speed racing transmission and a comprehensive safety package, which are the most important features of the R5 category brought into being by the international automobile association, the FIA, in 2012. This gives privateers, teams and importers the opportunity to contest national, regional and international championships with cost-effective, powerful rally cars.


For Volkswagen Motorsport, the Polo GTI R5 represents another important milestone in their strategic realignment: After the successful introduction of the Golf GTI TCR, which has brought home wins and titles in numerous championships on the circuit since 2016, Volkswagen Motorsport is expanding its involvement in customer racing to rallying.

Sunday, 22/10/2017

2017 Rallylegend

Ogier and the Polo R WRC thrill fans.


Sébastien Ogier (F), who won the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) four times with Volkswagen, was back in the Polo R WRC for the first time this weekend. The occasion was the Rallylegend in San Marino – the annual get-together for legendary rally drivers and cars. This year’s event was held in memory of world rally champion Colin McRae, who died in 2007, and consequently featured a particularly impressive line-up. The invitations were sent out by world championship winning co-driver Luis Moya (E). As well as Ogier, rally champions Sébastien Loeb (F), Juha Kankkunen (FIN), Ari Vatanen (FIN), Stig Blomqvist (S), Petter Solberg (N), Didier Auriol (F), Miki Biasion (I) and Marcus Grönholm (FIN) also attended the event and presented their iconic rally cars in a parade in front of roughly 70,000 delighted fans. McRae’s parents, brother and daughter also visited the Rallylegend.


“Unfortunately, I was not part of the generation that got to know Colin McRae personally,” said Ogier, who stayed behind to sign autographs after his short drive. “He was an icon and, for me, a real inspiration to become a rally driver. It is really an honour for me to be here. Plus, it was nice to be back in my world championship winning Polo again after such a long time.”

Monday, 02/10/2017

Austrian Rally Championship

First win for Baumschlager in the Polo R WRC.


Raimund Baumschlager (A) and his co-driver Pirmin Winklhofer (D) earned the Volkswagen Polo R WRC its first victory in the Austrian Rally Championship. The duo won the Rally Liezen in the 350-hp four-wheel drive powerhouse from Wolfsburg, ahead of Andreas Aigner/Ilka Minor (A/A, Škoda). With eight stage wins out of 13, Baumschlager/Winklhofer once again demonstrated the great potential of the 2016 world championship-winning Polo. The championship leaders – Hermann Neubauer/Bernhard Ettel (A/A, Ford) – ended the rally in fourth place, following a puncture. As such, Baumschlager and Winklhofer go into the season finale just two points behind Neubauer and Ettel.


More information:

Monday, 24/07/2017

Austrian Rally Championship

Second place for Baumschlager at the Rally Weiz in the Polo R WRC.


Raimund Baumschlager (A) and his co-driver Pirmin Winklhofer (D) have secured second place in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC at the Rally Weiz. The two Volkswagen drivers had to hang on at the end to claim the podium finish in the fifth race of the Austrian Rally Championship: They had some difficulties with the brakes on the 13th of 14 special stages. There was no way to fix the issue before the final special stage, meaning that Baumschlager had to drive the final 9.8 kilometres with just the front brake. He did not lose his grip on second place.

Baumschlager and Winklhofer had already proved how well the 318 hp 2016 Polo can perform – they recorded four stage best times and were involved in a tight battle for the lead with eventual winners Hermann Neubauer/Bernhard Ettel (A/A, Ford). Baumschlager is now in third place in the championship, with 67 points. He is 14 points behind overall leader Neubauer.

Raimund Baumschlager (A), Volkswagen Polo R WRC
“The braking circuit on the rear axle was knocked out at the start of special stage 13, probably by a stone. I heard a loud bang and considered stopping, but I was able to battle on with just the front brake axle. I had to hang on and I was praying that we would be able to finish the rally. I am more than happy with the result.”


More information:

Monday, 26/06/2017

Austrian Rally Championship

Baumschlager retires in the Polo R WRC after accident.


Minor cause, major effect: Raimund Baumschlager (A) retired early from the Schneebergland Rally, the fourth event of the Austrian Rally Championship, after an accident. An error in the pace notes saw his Volkswagen Polo R WRC come off the track at high speed and overturn on the second of a total of eight special stages. Baumschlager and his co-driver Pirmin Winklhofer (D) remained unscathed. The win went to Niki Mayr-Melnhof/Poldi Welsersheimb (A/A, Ford).

Tuesday, 02/05/2017

Austrian Rally Championship

Baumschlager runner-up in the Polo R WRC.


Raimund Baumschlager (A) finished runner-up in the Wechselland Rally, which forms part of the Austrian Rally Championship. This was the first time the car from Wolfsburg, with which Sébastien Ogier (F) won his fourth WRC title last season, had seen competitive action since Volkswagen Motorsport’s withdrawal from the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). Baumschlager won four of the 15 special stages in extremely difficult conditions.

This was a more than respectable achievement for Baumschlager and co-driver Pirmin Winklhofer (D), who had only completed a few test kilometres with the 2016 Polo R WRC prior to the event. “It was brutally tough, as the weather threw absolutely everything at us. From rain and fog to snow. Given the circumstances, I am more than happy with second place,” said Baumschlager, who finished just 8.7 seconds behind winner Hermann Neubauer (A). Volkswagen Motorsport supported the use of the Polo R WRC by the Baumschlager Rallye and Racing Team as part of its customer racing programme.

Monday, 24/04/2017

Austrian Rally Championship

Baumschlager to drive the Polo R WRC.


The world championship-winning car is back: the Volkswagen Polo R WRC will return to action at the Wechselland Rally (28/29 April), which forms part of the Austrian Rally Championship. Raimund Baumschlager (A), competing for the Baumschlager Rallye & Racing Team, will be the first private driver in the world to drive the successful car from Wolfsburg, with which Sébastien Ogier (F) claimed his fourth title in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) last season.

“I am incredibly proud to be allowed to drive the Polo R WRC. It is a great honour for me, and I can hardly put my excitement into words,” said Baumschlager, who will have co-driver Pirmin Winklhofer (A) at his side. As a customer, Baumschlager will receive support from Volkswagen Motorsport at his outings in the Polo R WRC. For example, engineer Gerard-Jan de Jongh, who was part of world champion Ogier’s successful crew during his time at Volkswagen, will assist Baumschlager.