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Preview: 199kW Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 goes rally

Volkswagen has given us a first glimpse of its 199kW Polo GTI R5 which is set to hit the rally circuit in the second half of 2018.

“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 rally version of the Polo will be offered to professional teams and aspiring drivers to compete in championships across the globe, including the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

According to Volkswagen Motorsport, 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.

Volkswagen Motorsport Technical Director François-Xavier “FX” Demaison, dubbed the father of the record winning Polo R WRC, is responsible for the development of the Polo GTI R5. 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.

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