Archive | 2016 FIA World Rally Championship

31 December 2016 ~ 0 Comments

The review of 2016

It’s been another busy year for the Volkswagen Polo. On the asphalt and gravel stages of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship, the Polo has, like 2013, 2014, and 2015, again taken on all-comers to emerge victorious: the 318bhp Polo R WRC has taken the Manufacturers’ Championship title for Volkswagen Motorsport and has also carried Frenchmen Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia to their third consecutive Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ Championship prizes. Sadly, that success is due to end this year with the announcement that Volkswagen is to quit top-level rallying.

Other Polo-based motorsport series have continued around the globe, though, with Wolfsburg’s small car taking an even larger presence in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Volkswagen Driver magazine in the UK has also published a series of articles detailing cars in the 2015 AutoMuseum Volkswagen ’40 Years Polo’ exhibition, which were written by editor Rich Gooding. A number of Polo special edition models have also been released around the world, while 2016 is expected to be the final production year of the current fifth-generation Polo.

Here, we round up the Polo’s biggest achievements in 2016. (Bold entries are illustrated by the picture above that particular month’s list of events.)

2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC


– Our cars: 2015 Polo SE 1.2 TSI – report three
– Volkswagen RX Sweden rallycross team unveiled
– Volkswagen launches ‘Race Anywhere’ Polo R WRC smartphone rally game app
– Polo R WRC upgraded and improved ahead of 2016 FIA World Rally Championship
– Volkswagen Motorsport takes victory at Rally Monte-Carlo
– Polo is the seventh best-selling car in the UK.

1980 Volkswagen Polo E80 and 1986 Volkswagen Öko-Polo

– Polo E80 prototype and Öko-Polo eco models profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Volkswagen India refreshes Polo and Vento ranges; new sub-compact Ameo launched
– Polo GTI revealed for Indian market
– Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia and Volkswagen win Rally Sweden for the third time
– Polo Beats special edition announced ahead of 2016 Geneva motor show
– Polo is the eighth best-selling car in the UK.

2016 Volkswagen Polo Vivo GTS (South Africa)

– 1970s early Polos and Audi 50s profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Future Polo-based T-Cross Breeze SUV concept revealed at 2016 Geneva motor show
– Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila celebrate Rally Mexico win
– Volkswagen South Africa launches Polo Vivo Xpress van and Polo Vivo GTS
– Our cars: 2015 Polo GTI – report one
– Polo is the sixth best-selling car in the UK.

2016 Volkswagen RX Sweden Polo RX Supercar


– 1982 Polo bb Buchmann profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Volkswagen India recalls Vento 1.5 TDIs due to ‘inconsistent emission issues’
– 2016 Volkswagen RX Sweden Polo RX rallycross Supercar revealed
– 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC technology announced
– Sixth for Johan Kristoffersson and Volkswagen RX Sweden at World RX of Portugal
– Polo R WRCs finish in second and third places at Rally Argentina
– Polo is the sixth best-selling car in the UK.

2016 Volkswagen Polo GT Sedan (Russia)

– 1983 Polo Sprint prototype profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Polo RXs finish seventh and 15th at World RX of Hockenheim
– Special edition Polo Beats hits the UK from £13,910
– Volkswagen RX Sweden Polos in World RX of Belgium final
– Rally Portugal podiums for Andreas Mikkelsen and Sébastien Ogier
– Polo GT Sedan 1.4 TSI launched in Russia
– Polo is the seventh best-selling car in the UK.

2016 Wimmer Rennsporttechnik Volkswagen Polo R WRC

– 1985 Polo G40 ‘World Record’ endurance car profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Polo RXs complete World RX of Great Britain in eighth and 11th places
– New Polo Select and Vento Celeste special editions for India
– Double podium and an extended championship lead for Volkswagen at Rally Italy
– Polo RXs finish in seventh and 15th places at World RX of Norway
– Wimmer Rennsporttechnik announce 417bhp Polo R WRC tuning kit
– Polo is the eighth best-selling car in the UK.

2016 Volkswagen Polo RX, World RX of Sweden: Marklund


– Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger take Polo R WRC to victory at Rally Poland
– Polo scoops Auto Express New Car Awards 2016 ‘small car’ prize
– Fourth and fifth place finishes for Polo RXs at World RX of Sweden
– Polo is the seventh best-selling car in the UK.

Volkswagen Polo GTI 1.8 TSI Cobra Sport performance exhaust system upgrade


– Five generations of sports Polos profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Second place for Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila at Rally Finland
– Goodridge Performance launches 2014-onwards Polo GTI 1.8 TSI ‘Phantom’ brake line kit
– profiles Belgian-only special edition Polo RX from 1978
– Kristoffersson scores Volkswagen RX Sweden podium at World RX of Canada
– Volkswagen Group announces roll-out particulate filters for petrol-engined cars
– Polo 1.2-litre TDI included in Volkswagen EA189 engine recall
– Sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo spotted testing; ‘hybrid’ platform car to be sold in India
– Polo R WRC takes on Kamaz 4326 Dakar Rally truck in Ouninpohja, Finland
– Cobra Sport announces performance exhaust system for 2014-onwards Polo GTI 1.8 TSI
– Ogier and Volkswagen Motorsport win Rally Germany
– Polo is the sixth best-selling car in the UK.

Polo Vivo production to be expanded into Kenya

– 1986 Volkswagen Motorsport Polo GT G40 profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Kristoffersson scores emphatic first team victory at World RX of France
– Polo Vivo expanded production plans announced with building of Kenyan factory
– Pete Hedström pilots Polo RX at World RX of Spain and World RX of Latvia
– Remus stainless steel exhaust upgrade for 2014-onwards Polo GTI 1.8 TSI announced
– Kristoffersson finishes sixth at World RX of Spain
– Polo is the sixth best-selling car in the UK.

2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Great Britain: Ogier/Ingrassia

– 1986 Wintershall VW Polo G40 Cup profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Ogier and Volkswagen Motorsport victorious at Rally France
– tests the Polo R-Line 1.0 TSI
– Kristoffersson claims second place at World RX of Latvia
– Special edition Polo Vivo Storm released in South Africa
– Polo Beats special edition launched by Volkswagen South Africa
– A solid sixth for Kristoffersson at World RX of Germany
– Ogier and Ingrassia claim fourth WRC drivers’ championship title at Rally Spain
– Volkswagen claims its twelfth WRC title in four years at Rally Great Britain
– Polo is the seventh best-selling car in the UK.

2016 Volkswagen Polo GTI (India)

– Second-generation Polos profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Volkswagen announces it is to exit the World Rally Championship
– ‘Limited edition’ Polo GTI launched in India for Rs 25.99 lakh
– Polo Beats special edition arrives in Ireland
– Polo Allstar and Vento Preferred special editions launched by Volkswagen India
– Volkswagen bids farewell to Polo R WRC with Rally Australia win
– Polo is the eighth best-selling car in the UK.

2004 Volkswagen Polo Club Sport

– Late-generation Polos profiled in Volkswagen Driver magazine
– Polo R WRC is named as Autosport magazine’s 2016 Rally Car of the Year
– Sébastien Ogier is named as Autosport magazine’s 2016 Rally Driver of the Year
– Polo GTI named Overdrive magazine’s Performance Car of the Year
– Ameo, Polo and Vento Crest Collection special edition models launched
– compares the SEAT Ibiza Cupra and Volkswagen Polo GTI
– Value-driven Polo Match Edition launched in the UK
– Polo is the seventh best-selling car in the UK for the month and the year overall
– Over 704,062 Polos are registered worldwide during 2016, making it the eighth best-selling car in the world.

Once again, we would like to thank the loyal readers and followers who have helped make the year another enjoyable one for, and hope that you’ll enjoy the developments and stories coming to the website in 2017.

[Click on the ‘Polo 2009-’, ‘WRC’ and ‘Motorsport’ tags in the category drop-down list in the right-hand sidebar of the website to see all entries pertaining to the revised fifth-generation Polo, Polo R WRC, and Polo motorsport activity respectively. Choose other category or month sections for relevant entries.]

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23 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen bids farewell to Polo R WRC with Rally Australia win

2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Australia: Mikkelsen

Volkswagen Motorsport waved goodbye to four years of World Rally Championship domination with a final one-two victory at Rally Australia, the final round of the 2016 series. Volkswagen young-guns Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger lifted the trophy in Coffs Harbour, with four-time and 2016 World Champions* Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia in second place. The end-of-era win was the 43rd victory for the German team from Hannover which also tops the Manufacturers’ Championship* for 2016.

Exciting in-house battle
The Norwegians really did deserve the prize, as the pair led for over 94 per cent of the event’s 283.36kms of dusty and loose gravel stages. An exciting and closely-fought in-house battle with Ogier and Ingrassia proved a fitting send off for the record-breaking 318bhp four-wheel drive Polo R WRC, and ensured the car finished its service in the top-flight motorsport series on a high. Both Polo R WRC crews had unfavourable starting positions, too, given the ‘sweeping’ of the loose surface which was needed to clear a path through it.

Ogier and Ingrassia came top of the Shakedown pile, with their Norwegian team-mates close behind them. Mikkelsen and Jæger won five of the opening day’s eleven special stages to take an early lead, and finished in the top three on every stage to take a lead of 15.4 seconds. Ogier and Ingrassia produced a performance worthy of their world champion status to win four special stages, ending day one in second place overall.

Mikkelsen went on only to lose his lead once during the whole rally, when a bizarre incident almost cost him the event. His Polo R WRC’s clutch pedal bent and held down his brake pedal after the floor of his car was dented. A water bottle also wedged itself in the pedal area of his car, but the Norwegian solved these ‘interesting’ setbacks and claimed the third of his career wins and his first since Rally Poland back in July.

As magnificent as it was, Mikkelsen and Jæger’s final performance in the Polo R WRC sadly wasn’t enough to achieve second place in the 2016 Drivers’ Championship. Mikkelsen’s friend and rival Thierry Neuville finished the Australian event in third place, leap-frogging the second-placed Norwegian in the overall standings, finishing runner-up behind world champion Ogier. In the end, Neuville’s jump over his friend was narrow – just six points separated him and Mikkelsen – but for a driver who started his international WRC career at Volkswagen, it didn’t seem to matter.

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02 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Polo R WRC is dead: Volkswagen exits the World Rally Championship

2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

In a shock move, Volkswagen has ‘reliagned’ its motorsport programme and pulled out of all future commitment to the World Rally Championship (WRC). Rumours started to circulate at the start of the week, ahead of a company board meeting yesterday. And today came the official announcement of the news we’d been dreading. After the final round of the 2016 season – Rally Australia – later this month, the Polo R WRC is no more.

‘Four historically successful years’
The company states that, ‘From 2017, Volkswagen will focus on new technologies and customer sport’, and that its involvement with top-level rallying will come to an end after ‘four historically successful years’. And what a ‘historical successful’ quartet of years it was: Volkswagen Motorsport and the Polo R WRC won twelve titles (Drivers’, Co-drivers’, and Manufacturers’ Championships) from 2013 to 2016, and have dominated the sport since the super-Polo first turned a wheel in anger at the 2013 Monte-Carlo Rally.

Talk about leaving on a high, though. The 318bhp four-wheel drive version of the German supermini competed in 51 international gravel and asphalt rallies and had an amazing 42 wins with 621 best times from over 900 special stages – a truly impressive feat making it the most successful car ever in the World Rally Championship. Just last weekend Volkswagen Motorsport scooped its fourth manufacturers’ title* at the 2016 running of Wales Rally GB.

New WRC technical regulations
Why a shock move? The motorsport outfit from Hannover had been quite far down the development road of the 2017 Polo R WRC, which would have been more powerful and more wildly-styled than the current car due to new technical regulations in the championship which come into force next year. Rumour has it that car will now be mothballed or crushed – we hope some examples of both it and the 2013 to 2016 machine are kept for historical purposes.

In front of 200 Volkswagen Motorsport employees in Hannover, Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Technical Development said: ‘The Volkswagen brand is facing enormous challenges. With the upcoming expansion in electrification of our vehicle range we must focus all our efforts on important future technologies. We far exceeded our sporting goals in the WRC, now we are realigning Volkswagen Motorsport and moving the vehicle technology of the future more starkly into focus’. All employees’ jobs are guaranteed to be safe.

‘R5’-specification Polo in 2018
However, while the Polo R WRC is a sad and unfortunate casualty of today’s announcement, there is hope. Volkswagen Motorsport will refocus on customer racing, primarily with the Golf GTI TCR touring car racer and the Global Rallycross Championship Beetle. But, a new, less powerful, customer-focused rallying Polo is on the cards, too. The ‘R5’-specification Polo will be available for teams to buy in 2018 and will be based on the new sixth-generation car expected to be launched next year. It is said that the new car will benefit from the experience gained by the Polo R WRC’s dominance.

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets commented: ‘Of course, we regret the departure from the WRC very much – as this was the most successful chapter in the Volkswagen brand’s motorsport history. The team has done great things. At the same time, our vision is firmly ahead, because we are aware of the challenges facing the entire company. We want our realignment to contribute to the success of the Volkswagen brand. From now on, the focus is on upcoming technologies in motorsport and on our customer sports range, where we will position ourselves more broadly and attractively.’

*Subject to ratification of the results by the FIA.

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31 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen claims its twelfth WRC title in four years at 2016 Rally Great Britain

2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Great Britain: Ogier/Ingrassia

Newly-crowned World Rally Champions* Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia ensured Volkswagen Motorsport claimed its twelfth FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) title in four years, as the pair clinched victory at the 2016 Rally Great Britain. Round 12 of the 13-event 2016 series took place in Wales, the 330.21kms run from 28-30 October. The win in and around the muddy forest tracks means that Volkswagen Motorsport has lifted the Drivers’, Co-drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championship trophies in every year it has taken part in the WRC since 2013.

Fourth consecutive win
The Welsh victory was the fourth consecutive win for Ogier and Ingrassia – and their sixth of the season – and gives Volkswagen an unassailable lead in the 2016 Manufacturers’ Championship, with one round still to play out in Australia next month. The German outfit now joins Citroën as only the second manufacturer to win all three titles four years in a row. Only Peugeot, Citroën and Lancia have more titles to their name, with five, eight and ten wins respectively. Even all-conquering Audi only won two.

Ogier and Ingrassia continued their Rally Great Britain winning streak which they demonstrated in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and came hot on the heels of wins in Germany, Franc and Spain. It also marked the first time the Frenchmen have won the same event four consecutive times. Held two weeks earlier than usual, the typical Rally Great Britain fog, rain and mud appeared to prove little challenge for Ogier and Ingrassia, who slid into the lead from the opening stage.

For once, running first – thanks to drivers’ standings starting positions – on the stages played into the French duo’s favour, but from then on, the pair were embroiled in a close battle with DMACK’s Ott Tänak and Raigo Mōlder, who put up the toughest fight to win the British stages. By the end of the first day, Ogier and Ingrassia had won five of the eight stages and set a lead of 37.3 seconds. By the end of day three, Tänak and Mōlder had narrowed it down to 10.2s.

‘An incredible journey’
Ogier was excited about the British win: ‘This victory is fantastic. I am so delighted that we have wrapped up the manufacturers’ title for our fantastic team. It was hard work hanging onto our lead in the extremely slippery conditions. Ott Tänak put us under a lot of pressure, so Julien and I had to push ourselves to the limit all weekend. But we did it.

‘Looking back, we have all been on an incredible journey over the past four years. To have such a run of success is definitely something very special – particularly in motorsport, where so many different factors come into play. I am very happy that I opted for Volkswagen before anyone knew where this WRC adventure would take us,’ the champion-elect* enthused.

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22 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Ogier and Ingrassia claim fourth WRC drivers’ championship title at Rally Spain

2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Spain: Ogier/Ingrassia

Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have been crowned 2016 World Rally Championship (WRC) drivers’ champions*, after taking victory at Rally Spain. The Polo R WRC-driving duo were awarded their fourth Drivers’ Championship after just 11 events from the 2016 series, with two rounds still to go. The 321.08km-long Rally Spain took place around Barcelona and the Costa Daurada region of the country from 14-16 October.

Quartet of titles
The Spanish podium was Ogier’s and Ingrassia’s fifth win of the season, and their ninth in 11 events. The quartet of titles lifts the French pair alongside other multiple champions Juha Kankkunen and Tommi Mäkinen, with only compatriot Sébastien Loeb having more wins to his name. Ogier has spent a total of 952 days at the top of the drivers’ standings, and with each title the dominant Frenchman has gained the championship with events to spare.

The 2016 Rally Spain win was the gallic duo’s 37th victory and their 30th with Volkswagen Motorsport since the German manufacturer’s WRC campaign began in 2013. However, the mixed surface gravel and asphalt event wasn’t an easy fight. Local driver Dani Sordo led the way in his Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC, with Ogier and Ingrassia losing 17 seconds on day one to the Spaniard thanks to wet weather and mud-covered routes.

Cool determination
Day two saw the French pair claw back precious time, though. The rest of the stages were run on asphalt, and Ogier turned his time deficit into a 5.8-second lead, and won five of the eight special stages. On Sunday, day three, that lead was extended still further thanks to the Gap-born driver’s cool determination and he and Ingrassia finished a whole 15.6 seconds ahead of Sordo and Marc Marti, while Belgian Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC crew Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul were behind their team-mates in third.

Ogier was enthusiastically upbeat: ’I feel fantastic! The fourth world championship title for Julien and me, it is impossible to describe how this feels. It is an honour to be mentioned in the same breath as such big names as Kankkunen and Mäkinen. I would like to say a huge thank you to our team at Volkswagen. Without them, Julien and I would not be here today. They do a fantastic job all year and we have had a perfect car all season. I had great fun at the wheel of the Polo R WRC once again this weekend.

‘The tension ahead of the closing Power Stage was obviously greater than usual, given the fact that we were within touching distance of the title, and bearing in mind the mistake we made last year. But we’ve done it. Despite the more difficult regulations, and despite the strong opposition. I am extremely proud of this title. It is now time to celebrate in style with my team and my wife – and when I get home I can show my young son Tim the trophy that daddy won. I dedicate this world championship title to him.’

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