A little over a year before the car's debut in competition, the German manufacturer tested the race-bound Polo R for the first time on a 1.5 mile-long tarmac track located in the vineyards outside of Trier, Germany.
Dakar winner Carlos Sainz and Volkswagen board member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg took turns driving and together they put about 60 miles on the Polo. Both drivers had Timo Gottschalk as a co-driver.
Everything went as planned and Sainz said the car felt "very good". Such words are reassuring coming from the mouth of a man who has already won two WRC championships and a Dakar rally, among other races.
The car Hackenberg and Sainz drove is a test mule developed by the Volkswagen team to gather as much information as possible before the start of the 2013 season. The data will be used to build and fine tune the final version of the Polo R WRC.
"The first Polo represents a preliminary stage of the subsequent rally car and during the upcoming months will serve as a test vehicle for various components such as engines, gearboxes or suspension parts. The findings obtained in these tests will be directly fed into the first thorough-bred Polo R WRC", said Kris Nissen, the director of Volkswagen Motorsport. "Next year we'll be running an extensive testing program on tarmac, gravel, mud and snow in order to prepare ourselves for the 2013 season as best we can."
Volkswagen has not yet revealed any technical details about Polo R WRC but it is expected to put out about 300 horsepower that will be distributed to all four wheels. It will participate in its first race at the beginning of the 2013 season.
It will take a massive effort for Volkswagen to beat the well-established heavyweights such as Ford and Citroën but the German brand is confident that they are up to the challenge.