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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
Ask someone from Volkswagen what their most important reveal is at the Frankfurt Auto Show and the answer will be simple: the Up!, the diminutive city car with a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine. That’s all well and good, but what about a car (another small car we might add) that’s just awesome. We are, of course, talking about the Polo R WRC, the VW brand’s entry into the World Rally Championship.
Shown before in sketches, Frankfurt is the first public showing of hot-hatch on steroids, with massively flared fenders doing a poor job of hiding VW’s all-wheel drive setup. Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine pumped all the way up to 296-hp.
Set to compete in next-year’s WRC season this is at least some indication that VW is planning a Polo R street model with AWD – a full baby brother to the Golf R. We’ll just settle for a Polo GTI.. if only VW would bring the sub-compact to North America.
GALLERY: VW Polo R WRC