Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R5 GTI | WRC2 by mid-2018

Volkswagen Motorsport had announced an R5 version of the WRC-exiting Polo WRC earlier this year, and now they are thrilled about it. Here is a sneak peak of the car’s press-release.

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.

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CITROËN Unveils C3 R5 at Rallye du Var

Amidst an intense programme of development testing, the Citroën C3 R5 is set to make its first public outing at the Rallye du Var (23-26 November). Having already won the 2017 French Rally Championship in a DS 3 R5, Yoann Bonato and Benjamin Boulloud will be leading the action at the event.

Since the start of September, the Citroën C3 R5 has been involved in a series of test sessions, both on tarmac and gravel. By now close to the product that will go on sale in the first half of 2018, the prototype driven alternatively by Stéphane Lefebvre, Craig Breen and Yoann Bonato has already racked up more than 4,000km in testing, with wholly satisfactory levels of performance and reliability.

For Citroën Racing, the next step involves unveiling its latest creation in a public setting. On 23-26 November, a Citroën C3 R5 will be running as one of the zero cars at the Rallye du Var, the final round of the French Championship. Bearing the number 0 on its doors, the C3 R5 will not be running competitively, since it will not yet have been homologated by the FIA.

The Citroën C3 R5 will be driven by Yoann Bonato, who has already wrapped up this year’s French Championship title after winning four rallies (Limousin, Rouergue, Mont-Blanc and Cœur de France) in his DS 3 R5. With the pressure completely off, Yoann and his co-driver Benjamin Boulloud will be able to celebrate their recent title whilst providing the Citroën Racing engineers with precious information. This full-scale test session will enable the C3 R5 to tackle a wide variety of roads and let the mechanics assess its ease of operation.

The Rallye du Var kicks off on Friday, 24 November after lunch and is due to conclude at midday on Sunday, after 14 stages over a total competitive distance of 183km. The magnificent route takes in some of the French department’s most beautiful roads, with the famous Collobrières test expected to be one of the decisive stages.

Yves Matton, Citroën Racing Team Principal: “Yoann Bonato has had a superb season in the French Championship and he has won another title for the DS 3 R5. Although luck hasn’t always been on his side, he has also produced some fine performances in the WRC 2 over the past two seasons. So it seemed to make perfect sense to me to ask him to drive the Citroën C3 R5 on its first public outing at the Rallye du Var. It will put the spotlight on an excellent driver, who has actively participated in the development of our new customer racing product. The Rallye du Var gives us the opportunity to show the car to anyone who is really interested; it will also enable the technical team to assess the maturity of the development in different conditions to those you get in a test session.”

Pierre Budar, Development Director, Customer Racing Vehicles: “Thanks to the technical choices made long before the first road tests, we have completed a series of test sessions without any major technical hitches and managed to achieve the performance potential we were aiming for. Whilst also assessing the robustness of the components, we have been analysing various set-up configurations to try and get to grips with the sensitivity of the car and identify the most effective solutions. A lot of work done on the engine on the test bench has enabled us to assess a wide range of configurations and the specifications are now finalised for homologation. Another important milestone will be reached with our participation in the Rallye du Var, where we can test the C3 R5 in conditions close to those in which it will be ultimately used.”

Yoann Bonato: “I started my career with Citroën, as part of the Saxo Challenge; that was how I managed to secure my first works drive. We went our separate ways before our paths crossed again in 2016 and the opportunity offered to me is a great way of concluding what has been a great season. This is the first time I have been involved at such as early stage in the development of a car. Right from the word go, I was surprised to find such a clean, efficient and drivable car. It’s difficult to compare the C3 R5 with the previous generation, because everything is really different. Use of the chassis, the engine, ergonomics: you really get the feeling you have moved up a category. At the Rallye du Var, my aim will be to pursue the development work done so far and provide the team with as much feedback as possible, but also to enjoy driving on these fantastic roads.”

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WRC 2017 Rally Australia – A Preview

It’s time for WRC season 2017 finale, down under! Kennards Hire Rally Australia, the final round of the 2017 season of World Rally Championship is just about a week far from now. It is also one of the fastest rallies on the calendar and has one of the most scenic routes to watch for the spectators and competitors to enjoy. Having said that doesn’t make it any easier to the competition, but rather tougher!

The rally passes through the forests of New South Wales and hq’ed in Coffs Harbour, which is dry, hot and dusty, all thanks to the southern summer. Yes, the seasons are almost reversed in the southern hemisphere and it scorching summers while the north chills!

Last year’s winner 
Andreas Mikkelsen is the one to be watched out eagerly since he has successfully managed to seat in a Hyundai i20 WRC, after missing few rounds earlier in the season and a few for Citroen before signing long term contracts with the Korean car maker.

Sebastien Ogier
, who recently clinched his 5th successive WRC driver’s title, will be another driver to be watched out for the weekend. Thierry NeuvilleOtt Tanak, and Hayden Paddon are another few drivers which we cannot neglect to mention. Mads Ostberg & recent rally winner Elfyn Evans has the potential to surprise, with their not so surprising driving abilities.


Shakedown (Coffs)5.02 km16. 11.08:00 – [15. 11. 22:00 GMT+1]
1st leg
SS1Pilbara I9.71 km17. 11.08:13 – [16. 11. 22:13 GMT+1]
SS2Eastbank I18.92 km08:36 – [16. 11. 22:36 GMT+1]
SS3Sherwood I26.59 km09:39 – [16. 11. 23:39 GMT+1]
Service A – Coffs Harbour – 30 Min11:24
SS4Pilbara II9.71 km12:37 – [17. 11. 02:37 GMT+1]
SS5Eastbank II18.92 km13:00 – [17. 11. 03:00 GMT+1]
SS6Sherwood II26.59 km14:03 – [17. 11. 04:03 GMT+1]
SS7SSS Destination NSW I1.27 km16:54 – [17. 11. 06:54 GMT+1]
SS8SSS Destination NSW II1.27 km17:02 – [17. 11. 07:02 GMT+1]
Flexi Service B – Coffs Harbour – 45 Min17:32
Leg total112.98 km
2nd leg
Service C – Coffs Harbour – 15 Min18. 11.06:00
SS9Nambucca1748.89 km07:18 – [17. 11. 21:18 GMT+1]
SS10Newry17 I20.86 km08:56 – [17. 11. 22:56 GMT+1]
SS11SSS Raceway1.37 km09:44 – [17. 11. 23:44 GMT+1]
Service D – Coffs Harbour – 30 Min10:49
SS12Welshs Creek33.49 km12:22 – [18. 11. 02:22 GMT+1]
SS13Argents Hill12.33 km13:08 – [18. 11. 03:08 GMT+1]
SS14Newry17 II20.86 km14:16 – [18. 11. 04:16 GMT+1]
SS15SSS Destination NSW III1.27 km16:54 – [18. 11. 06:54 GMT+1]
SS16SSS Destination NSW IV1.27 km17:02 – [18. 11. 07:02 GMT+1]
Flexi Service E – Coffs Harbour – 45 Min17:32
Leg total140.34 km
3rd leg
Service F – Coffs Harbour – 15 Min19. 11.06:20
SS17Pilbara Reverse I10.03 km07:18 – [18. 11. 21:18 GMT+1]
SS18Bucca1631.90 km07:36 – [18. 11. 21:36 GMT+1]
SS19Wedding Bells16 I6.44 km08:38 – [18. 11. 22:38 GMT+1]
Service G – Coffs Harbour – 30 Min09:53
SS20Pilbara Reverse II10.03 km11:06 – [19. 11. 01:06 GMT+1]
SS21Wedding Bells16 II [Power Stage]6.44 km12:18 – [19. 11. 02:18 GMT+1]
Service H – Coffs Harbour – 10 Min13:16
Leg total64.84 km
Event total318.16 km


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