FIA block VW’s plans to run 2017 Polo with customer teams

by Paul Hensby

After negotiations between the FIA and Volkswagen, the decision has been made not to allow the German marquee’s 2017-specification Polo R WRC to compete in the World Rally Championship.

Having withdrawn as a factory entry at the end of 2016 despite an unbroken record of championship victories, Volkswagen were hoping to be allowed special disposition to race the new car this season with private teams after missing the original January 1 deadline for homologation, but the FIA have decided not to allow this to happen.

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport’s director, has accepted the decision although the ruling will now prevent customers from running the new car, although plans are still there to allow the hiring out of their 2016 machine.

“Following customer inquiries, we asked the FIA for a waiver of the homologation of the 2017 Volkswagen Polo World Rally Car, with the purpose being to rent it out to private drivers and teams,” said Smeets. “It now turns out that this is not possible under the current WRC regulations.  

“We fully accept the result, but at the same time regret it in the interests of our customers. We would like to thank the FIA for the very constructive discussions.”

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