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 Sébastien 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.