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Volkswagen’s WRC entry in the form of a Polo R is out testing a little over a year before its official competition debut. The Polo R recently got its first bout of testing on a 1.5-mile tarmac track out in the vineyards in Trier, Germany.
Behind the wheel during test was Dakar winner Carlos Sainz and Volkswagen board member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg; both took turns piloting the WRC car for about 60 miles with Timo Gottschalk as co-driver.
The actual car being used for testing won’t be the final version of the Polo R WRC, as Volkswagen is trying to gather as much data as possible to tweak the final race car before the start of the 2013 season. Both drivers said the car felt very good and its first batch of data is very promising for a real serious contender.
Details are light on the Polo R WRC, but it’s assumed that it’ll have around 300-hp to all four wheels. Volkswagen clearly knows they have their work cut out for them to compete against veterans Ford and Citroen in WRC, but they’re clearly taking the initiative in ensuring they have a fighting chance.
GALLERY: Volkswagen WRC Polo R
Volkswagen gave us a first look at their Polo R WRC, a competition version of their Polo R hot hatch destined for the World Rally Championship. Powered by a 1.6L TSI four-cylinder engine, the all-wheel drive Polo R makes 296 horsepower thanks to turbocharging and direct injection.
The usual competition modifications, like a rollcage, bucket seats, upgraded brakes and suspension are all present, and Volkswagen’s rally experience in the Dakar rally will undoubtedly help them stay competitive in one of the world’s premiere motorsports series. If only we could get the Polo R stateside, we’d feel a lot better about the existence of this rally special.
See a video teaser of the car after the jump: