ONE week out from the start of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship at Rallye Monte-Carlo, Volkswagen has revealed a mildly upgraded edition of its all-conquering Polo R WRC.
The car that has won more events than any other in WRC history will set out to defend its three straight championships in the hands of drivers’ champion Sebastien Ogier and teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.
Apart from slightly different livery featuring white stripes at the front, the Polo has received what the team calls “cautious” changes to the mechanical specification.
Two changes have optimised the stability of the car. The front subframe has been strengthened, as have the rear-axle wishbones for the gravel specification of the Polo R WRC. The pistons in the 318-hp engine have also received a minor modification to improve reliability.
“We are about to defend our world championship title for the third time in a row,” Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito said.
“The opposition has not been sleeping, and has modified its cars for the new season. So have we, of course: the changes to the Polo R WRC are basically fine-tuning and detailed improvements to make the world championship-winning car even better.
“You have to bear in mind that the regulations in the World Rally Championship only allow a few modifications within a homologation period. Thanks to this stability, it is possible to challenge for the title for several years with an existing car, making only detailed improvements.
“That is precisely our goal for 2016.”
With 34 wins from 39 WRC rallies, the Polo R WRC is the most successful rally car of all time after just three seasons.