Volkswagen have unveiled their 2015 FIA World Rally Championship contender today in Autostadt, Wolfsburg with a new car and a new look.
Following a clean sweep of all championship title since the debut of the Polo R WRC in 2013, the team switch to a 2015 version of the hugely successful car with the continued driver line up of Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila and Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene.
“The new Polo R WRC has undergone intense further development, both on the inside and the outside,” said Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development.
“Not only does it look even more dynamic and sporty than it did before, but our engineers have also been working meticulously on technical innovations under the bonnet and have improved many detailed aspects of the package that has been so successful for the past two years. The focus of this further development was on efficiency, reliability and performance. We can hardly wait to see the new Polo R WRC in Monte Carlo and at the other twelve rallies on four continents.”
One of the biggest changes for the 2015 season is the implementation of a hydraulically activated gearbox, which is operated via a shift paddle on the steering column.
With the new car comes a new livery, gone is the base white that has previously adorned the VW and in its place is dark blue. mixed with light-blues and whites the design has a feeling of movement even when it is not moving.
Defending champion Sébastien Ogier is confident the new car will be successful as the previous model. “We have done a lot of testing and we drivers have worked very closely with the engineers. We put a lot of effort into developing the new shift paddle, which represents real progress.
“We are looking forward to the new season. It will be exciting to see how we fare against the other teams. The tests have gone well so far, and our engineers have done a good job. The Polo R WRC is even better than it was before.”
Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala echoed Ogier’s sentiments about the new car and the season ahead. “The new car feels really good, and we are ready for the new season – at last. We will be using the shift paddle on the steering wheel to change gear this year, and I really like it. On the whole, the new Polo is faster and even better than the 2014 car.”
Andreas Mikkelsen heads in to the season using the 2014 Polo but will switch to the 2015 specification Polo from Portugal onwards. “First and foremost: the new design is really cool. I really like the new colours and new design, and am even a little bit prouder to be driving the Polo R WRC.
“I will still be driving the 2014 Polo at the start of the season, and will not switch to the ‘new’ car until the Rally Portugal. However, that is no problem. After all, our world championship winning car has more than proven itself, and is certainly anything but slow.”