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VW 'to announce its WRC entry' at Rally Sardinia

Fri, 15 Apr 2011 00:00:00 -0700

VW Polo R WRC (2011): Volkswagen enter the WRC

High-level sources in an existing World Rally Championship team have told CAR that Volkswagen will formally announce its decision to enter the WRC at Rally Sardinia, which starts on 5 May 2011, somewhat stealing the thunder of Mini’s WRC debut.

It’s believed that sister firm Skoda’s Fabia Intercontinental Rally Challenge car will be used as the first step in development. This car currently runs to the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated S2000 rules, so one of the first steps will be to switch to a 1.6-litre turbo.

VW's WRC rally car: the background

This won’t work quite so well for VW as it does for Citroen and Ford, who both have production 1.6-litre turbo engines – VW’s closest engines are the 1.4-litre twin charger (both supercharged and turbocharged) and the 2.0-litre turbo in cars such as the Golf GTI and Scirocco R. Not a big hurdle, but no doubt less pleasing for the marketing people.

The announcement will come on the back of VW running a Scirocco R as a course car with Carlos Sainz – VW’s Dakar star driver – at the wheel for Rally Deutschland 2010.

Will VW enter a Polo or Scirocco for WRC?

Well, both fit within the minimum 3.8-metre length requirements. The Polo has the added benefit of being based on the Fabia’s platform – meaning more can be gleaned from the IRC car – plus VW currently runs the Polo in the South African Rally Championship.

However, an engineer at a rival team tells us that the Scirocco is the right width and has a good aero package. ‘It’s swings and roundabouts, really,’ he says. And perhaps the Scirocco course car was no small hint!

Time will tell, but, coming on the back of Mini’s return, it’s more good news for a reinvigorated WRC.

By Ben Barry