Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Volkswagen Motorsport | posted January 18, 2016 12:43
VW ready to defend world rally title with updated Polo R for 2016
The defending champion of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) is preparing for this year’s competition after Volkswagen recently revealed the improved Polo WRC.
Volkswagen claimed that the changes on the car are minimal but nonetheless, will deliver better performance for the team.
“We are about to defend our world championship title for the third time in a row. The opposition has not been sleeping, and has modified its cars for the new season. So have we, of course: the changes to the Polo R WRC are basically fine-tuning and detailed improvements to make the world championship-winning car even better,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito.
Starting with the exterior, Volkswagen said that it has a slightly altered front end. The automaker didn’t exactly describe the minor changes but they did say it makes up for a ‘beefier’ appearance.
Under the hood, the pistons have been tweaked as well for better overall reliability. It puts out 318 PS and is still identical to the engine used in the 2015 season according to Volkswagen. Chassis-wise, the front sub-frame is now stronger, allowing for a more stable and planted ride. The rear-axle wishbones, on the other hand, have been optimized for gravel racing.
Piloting the car will be three-time world champions Sebastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia, as well as Jari-Matti Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger.
Both Ogier and Latvala are already excited for the 2016 season, especially with the starting race set to begin at Rally Monte Carlo.
“I cannot imagine a better rally, with which to start the new season. I have won the ‘Monte’ for the past two years, and would obviously like to win it again this year. For me, it is the most important rally of the year,” said Ogier.
Latvala, on the other hand, expects Rally Monte Carlo to be a race with unpredictable weather.
“The Rally Monte Carlo is something very special every year. The conditions in the mountains can pretty much change from one minute to the next. The roads on the sunny side of a mountain are completely different to the shaded side, where they are often icy. The better the communication with the ice spies, the more likely you are to get a good result at the ‘Monte’,” said Latvala.
The 2016 season opener will kick off from January 21 – 24.