By Ronan Glon
Monday, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 5:26 am
 

After numerous months of rumors and speculation, Volkswagen has finally lifted the veil off of the WRC-bound variant of the Polo econobox. Dubbed Polo R, it is scheduled to make its competition debut at the 2013 Monte Carlo Rally next month.

Unsurprisingly, the Polo R is not very different from the prototype that Volkswagen showcased on a private track in Germany last year. It features big fender flares that cover 18-inch wheels, a massive spoiler mounted on the hatch and LED headlights. All of Volkswagen's WRC-bound Polos are painted in Red Bull livery.

The Polo R is built with advanced materials such as carbon fiber and Kevlar but it is not exactly featherlight because race regulations dictate that it must weigh a minimum of 2,600 pounds.

Volkswagen has opted not to release technical details about the car but race regulations give away the basics. Under the hood lies a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 315 horsepower and 313 lb-ft. of torque thanks to a turbocharger and a direct fuel-injection system. Power is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox and two mechanical limited slip differentials.

The three Polo Rs that Volkswagen will field in the 2013 WRC season will be driven by France's S├ębastien Ogier, Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala and Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen. The team is not aiming for total domination of the season but it hopes to earn at least a couple podium finishes.

"I would be disappointed not to get a spot on the podium but finishing the season in the top five would be a very good result nonetheless," said Ogier in an interview with France's Le Point magazine.