Volkswagen’s World Rally Championship weapon for 2015 has been unveiled on the eve of the new rally season.
Meet the updated 2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, which brings cosmetic changes along with some important technical ones.
Most obvious is the fresh new paint in the team’s Red Bull colours, which shifts the focus from white at the front to blue.
The headlights from the current-spec road car have graduated to the WRC car, while the front end now features the word ‘Polo’ on the grille; and the rear gets a new wing.
WRC cars have returned to a paddle-shift sequential gearbox for the first time since 2010, with driver Jari-Matti Latvala giving it the thumbs-up.
“We’ll be using the paddle shift on the steering wheel to change gear this year, and I really like it,” Latvala said.
“On the whole, the new Polo is faster and even better than the 2014 car. And I am not the only one to feel that way - Sébastien [Ogier] and Andreas [Mikkelsen] agree with me.”
Latvala, Ogier and Mikkelsen will be joined by co-drivers Miika Anttila, Julien Ingrassia and Ola Floene respectively, as the 2015 season kicks off in Monte Carlo on January 22.
Two of the new Polo Rs will be ready before the first round, while Mikkelsen/Floene will continue to race in last year’s car until Rally Portugal in May.
Volkswagen says 75 percent of the components from the 2014 car were checked and optimised to make them “simpler, lighter and stronger”.
The 2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC has some might big shoes to fill, as its predecessor won 84 percent of the rounds it contested (22 from 26) along with the 2013 and 2014 manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles.
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