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Everything Volkswagen Polo Issue 009 // January 2013

Rallying call Polos in rallying 2000-2013 From Group N to WRC

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2000 Polo Group N




2003 Polo Super 1600

2012 Polo S2000


Welcome. Polo: a rally success

he Polo isn’t the first car usually thought of when it comes to motorsport, but the simple fact of the matter is that it has had quite a prolific racing career. Whether charging around a race track or spearing through a forest, Polos have been found in most motorsport arenas since the popular model’s birth in 1975.

2000 Polo Group N


2001 Polo GTI Super 1600



With the arrival of the Polo R WRC, Volkswagen has built its most advanced, most expensive and most powerful rally car yet, and it’s genuinely exciting to see a Polo competing in top-flight motorsport. But it’s certainly no stranger to muddy forest tracks and snow-swept tarmac mountain passes. Thirteen years ago, the Volkswagen Polo Rally Challenge was launched, and factory-approved cars took on some of the most demanding rally stages and terrain. Since then, in Super 1600 and S2000 guises, the Polo has scored mixed results in global rally championships, but has achieved most success in South Africa. Here it’s been campaigned for years, and is still winning titles.


2002 Polo Super 1600 8 2012 Polo S2000


2013 Polo R WRC


Technical specifications



This magazine celebrates the ‘oddity’ that is the Polo rally car. It profiles the most successful variations, aiming to enlighten enthusiasts and prove that Volkswagen’s small hatchback is far from just a ‘shopping car’. With a runner-up position at the 2013 Rallye Monte Carlo, already the Polo R WRC is proving what a weapon the Polo rally car can be. PAGE 03 | POLODRIVER.COM | JANUARY 2013

2000 Polo Group N (6N/6N2)


he ready-to-rally Polo Group N was first announced to UK fans at the 1999 London Motor show were it was displayed alongside a new Polo GTI. It then made a subsequent appearance at the Autosport International show in January 2000. Costing only £12,995 (the brand new and more powerful road‑going Polo GTI was a near-identical price), it was primarily designed for the one-make Volkswagen Polo Rally Challenge 2000 series, which saw teams do battle over eight national and international events (including the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship), in pursuit of a £10,000 cash first prize. The fully-homologated Polo Challenge (Group N) rally car was at first based on the then-outgoing 1994-1999 Series 3 Polo (6N) bodyshell – later cars were based on the then-current 1999-2001 Series 4F Polo (6N2). It came with a factory-prepared competition shell with welded‑in rollcage, a 1.4-litre 16V power unit which developed 112bhp, a competition engine management system, a sports exhaust, competition seats with harnesses, a plumbed-in fire safety system and competition suspension, wheels and tyres. Ten cars were initially built up in the workshops of Volkswagen Motorsport UK. The following year, the 2001 Volkswagen Polo Rally Challenge was billed as ‘Britain’s most exciting one-make rally series’, organised by Volkswagen Racing UK in association with the Royal Scottish Automobile Club. Seven of the eight rounds formed part of the then new manufacturer-led Formula Rally series. The prize was a £13,280 road-going Polo GTI. There’s no doubt that the Polo Group N was very competitive, with a Volkswagen Racing UK-prepared car even emerging victorious at the 2001 World Cup Rally, three minutes ahead of its rival after 6000 miles of gruelling, difficult stages. Did you know? The Polo Group N was also available as a 130bhp 1.6 version


In January 2002, the 2002 Castrol Polo Challenge was launched, which built on the same formula as the previous two years. Organised by Volkswagen Racing UK, it was one of a number of similar series run all over Europe, the winner’s prize being a works drive in a Volkswagen Group A rally car on a European Rally Championship event and a road‑going Volkswagen Polo sports model worth in excess of £14,000. The series featured eight one-day national-status rallies organised as part of the Pirelli Open Rally Championship, and saw competitors tackling the tough forest stages of Cumbria, Yorkshire, Scotland and Wales as well as the super-fast closed road stages of the Borders, Ulster and the Isle of Man. Volkswagen Racing UK had a small number of unused, factory-fresh £13,750 Polo 1.4 Group N cars available for any new drivers who wished to compete. April 2003 saw the championship start for yet another year, although this was to be its and the Polo Group N’s (6N2) last – a much more powerful and new Polo Super 1600 rally car, based on the recently-introduced Series 4 Polo (9N), was unveiled at the Essen Motor Show in November 2002, ready to campaign in anger the following year. Once again the Polo Challenge series used identical 1.4-litre Group N Polos. At the time, Volkswagen Racing UK said that the championship was ‘without question the most cost-efficient high profile rally championship in Britain.’ All seven of the points-counting rounds of the Polo Challenge were held as part of the national or junior rallies within the BRC calendar. But as competitive as the Polo Group N was, it wasn’t the ultimate incarnation of the contemporary rally Polo. The 2001 Polo GTI Super 1600 boasted more power and wilder looks... 

‘The Polo Group N was primarily designed for the one-make Volkswagen Polo Rally Challenge 2000 series, which saw teams do battle over eight national and international events’

‘Powered by an all-new 200bhp development of the road-going Polo GTI’s engine, the car also featured a six-speed sequential gearbox’


2001 Polo GTI Super 1600


ith the Polo Group N proving a rallying success, Volkswagen Racing UK sanctioned an official works car for 2001 – the Polo GTI Super 1600. Launched at Volkswagen UK’s Milton Keynes headquarters in May 2001, the GTI Super 1600 was developed by Volkswagen in Germany for Volkswagen Racing UK, and was designed to promote rising talent both in the UK and in the World Rally Championship. Formula Rally, a bespoke championship created for Super 1600 cars featured similar vehicles from manufacturers such as Ford and Peugeot. Powered by an all-new 200bhp development of the road-going Polo GTI’s 1597cc 125bhp engine, the car also featured a six-speed sequential gearbox developed by UK-based Gemini. Backed by TNT Logistics, Sony, Mondial Assistance, Aspects, Augustus Martin, BHWG, ECM, Experian, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Insurance, tyre technology was supplied by Pirelli. Rising star Neil Simpson from Lancashire was announced as the main driver and car and driver had their first competitive outing on the 2001 Rally Wirral. The Polo GTI Super 1600 certainly looked the part, with extended wheelarches covering lightweight alloy wheels, while front and rear spoilers improved airflow. Testing began in Germany after the unveiling in May 2001. Comfortably outpacing the competition in the first stages of the Rally Wirral, victory was short-lived, as Volkswagen Racing UK withdrew the car due to unforseen engine problems. The car then had its first taste of loose-surface competition on the Rally Silverstone in June 2001, thanks to a new evolution of the car’s engine being shipped over to the UK from tuning company Lehmann

in Lichenstein. It was a worthwhile swap – Simpson and the GTI Super 1600 finished seventh on the Roger Clark RallySprint course. August was due to see the Volkswagen Racing UK team head to Wales for the Welsh Rally which made use of the extensive road network around the Epynt military ranges, but once again, engine problems unfortunately put paid to any participation. After further investigations into the engine failures by Lehmann, the GTI Super 1600 clocked up more valuable testing miles in both Ireland and Scotland. For the Scottish National Rally, Simpson was swapped for Group N rally champion David Higgins, after he broke his arm in a testing accident with the car. Volkswagen Racing UK was pleased with a sixth-place finish on the event and was due to complete the rally further up the leaderboard until a puncture on the penultimate stage dashed any podium hopes. An appearance at the Rally of Kent in November (we remember seeing the car and its Polo Challenge siblings at a public preview of the event in Ashford) led to a third-place position on the following Banbury Rally, claiming three stage wins as well as leading the event for a short while. However, the season’s run of bad luck continued until the final event of the year – the Rally of Great Britain. Retiring from the event due to transmission problems, until then the Polo GTI Super 1600 had carried Finnish driver Kosti Katajamaki to 10th place in class on its WRC debut. So, the Polo GTI Super 1600 enjoyed a mixed debut year, and soon after, Motorsport Solutions (International) Ltd gained exclusive rights to the Junior WRC-eligible machine, with plans to run two cars in UK series during 2002, as well as building more examples for use around the world. 

Did you know? The Polo GTI Super 1600 was homolgated on 1 November 2001


2002 Polo Super 1600 (9N/9N3)


olkswagen’s all-new Series 4 Polo ushered in a new rally machine, which had the covers pulled off it at the Essen Motor Show in Germany on 30 November 2001, just a few months after the road car was unveiled. First appearing as a design study, the Polo Super 1600 was constructed to carry a young driver to Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) success. Volkswagen Racing was proud of its new motorsport baby, stating that it was one of the most advanced cars yet seen in its category. Expensive construction materials were excluded from JWRC rules, as it was seen as a ‘feeder’ series into the main World Rally Championship (WRC) proper, and Volkswagen Racing were aiming to sell the car for the price‑capped figure of US$100,000 – a relatively small budget required to enter a major series. Power came from a 215bhp development of the Polo GTI Super 1600’s 16-valve, 1.6-litre engine, with drive through a six‑speed sequential gearbox, once again provided by Gemini in the UK. Also in the UK, Alcon provided the braking technology. An extensive testing programme took place in the spring of 2002 (with the car appearing at the legendary Wörthersee GTI Festival in Austria), ahead of the car’s 1 July homologation date. German rally champions Jutta Kleinschmidt and Dieter Depping racked up test mileages in the Super 1600, before it made its debut as a course car on the ADAC Rally Deutschland in August, ahead of a planned full assault on the JWRC championship in 2003. Finnish Volkswagen driver Kosti Katajamaki made a strong start with the car that year, leading the way in Monte Carlo in January, and then winning the Junior WRC class on the Rally of Turkey just two months later. Did you know? Polo Super 1600s and S2000s also now compete in rallycross


June saw the Super 1600 contest the Acropolis Rally in Greece, with current Polo R WRC co-driver Miikka Anttila alongside Katajamaki. The Finnish duo were doing well, but a damaged differential housing soon led to retirement. Fellow Polo Super 1600 driver and Lehtonen Motorsport team mate, Swede Oscar Svedlund, finished the event fifth among the Junior WRC runners. The Rally of Finland in August was the next outing for the brace of Polo Super 1600s. Katajamaki’s and Svedlund’s cars came over to the UK in November 2003 for the Wales Rally GB, where the workshops of Volkswagen Racing UK prepared the car for the 233 miles of tricky Welsh forest stages. Similar Polo Super 1600s were also built by René Georges Rally Sport and competed in championships in Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the Canary Islands. The road-going Series 4 Polo was facelifted in 2005 to become the 9N3, and the rally car was similarly updated to reflect this model realignment. Featuring a new front end with much more aggressive‑looking headlights and a prominent ‘V’-shaped grille (some cars had the 2006‑2009 Polo GTI’s black and red colouring), Volkswagen’s smallest rally weapon now better resembled the ‘Polo on steroids’ description that had accompanied that original Polo Super 1600 design study four years earlier. The BP Volkswagen rally team in South Africa successfully campaigned evolutions of the Polo Super 1600 in the national rally championship for a number of years, before the car became the Polo S2000 (designated as such due to its 2.0-litre engine). The Polo Vivo S2000, so-called because of its tie-in with the new South African-only budget VW (based on the Series 4F Polo but with bodywork revisions) still competes in the country. 

‘The Polo Super 1600 was primarily designed to carry a young driver to victory in the Junior World Rally Championship’ PAGE 09 | POLODRIVER.COM | JANUARY 2013

‘At the time of its launch, the Polo S2000 6R was so advanced, Volkswagen South Africa Motorsport gave drivers training before they turned a wheel’ JANUARY 2013 | POLODRIVER.COM | PAGE 06

2012 Polo S2000 (6R) (ZA)


lthough the new 2011 Polo R WRC had been unveiled by Volkswagen Motorsport nine months before, Volkswagen South Africa Motorsport’s new Polo S2000 still caused a splash when it was launched in February 2012. Replacing the long‑serving Polo S2000/Super 1600 based on Series 4 mechanicals, the new Polo S2000 is based on the latest 6R Polo bodyshell and chassis, therefore bringing many technological enhancements with it. Volkswagen South Africa Motorsport bills the car as ‘a new beginning for national rally competition,’ stating that it pushes the boundaries when it comes to how local rally cars were built, as well as using the most advanced technologies available internationally. Constructed using the same basic components as other Polos in the groups Uitenhage factory, parts are tweaked and tested at various stages through the production process, ‘maximising consistency’ and speeding up the build process.

And the drivers for the maiden 2012 season were quite a line-up. BP Volkswagen rally team stalwarts Enzo Kuun and Guy Hodgson joined Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries – all four men have competed since the creation of the S2000 class in 2003, and claimed national rally championship titles in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Young Intercontinental Rally Challenge and World Rally Championship pairing Hans Weijs Jnr and Björn Degandt travelled to South Africa especially to race the Polo S2000. BP continues as the headline sponsor. 2012 was a mixed season for the BP Volkswagen team with the new Polo S2000. With six consecutive national rally championship titles to its name with the old car, the pressure was on for Volkswagen South Africa Motorsport. March saw the first event, the Total Rally in KwaZulu‑Natal, where Weijs Jnr and Degandt took sixth place.

Powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine developing 268bhp and 184lb ft of torque at 7200rpm, the 97kg engine drives all four wheels through a six-speed sequential Powershift-equipped Sadev 4/45 gearbox. The four-wheel drive system has a constant 50/50 split in line with S2000 rally regulations, the centre diff replaced by a spool.

A podium finish on the Sasol Rally was more than Volkswagen South Africa Motorsport dared hope for, but there were disappointments to come. Numerous retirements littered the top 10 finishes, but the final event of the season, November’s Garden Route rally, saw the BP Volkswagen team claim a one-two finish, with Weijs Jnr and Degandt taking the top spot, and Kuun and Hodgson hot on their heels.

The wiring harnesses are constructed to aircraft specification throughout the car, and tolerances are down to 1mm. The rally car is 15mm wider and has an 8mm longer wheelbase than the road car on which it is based, and unlike the Polo R WRC, is based on the five-door bodyshell, as opposed to the three-door. At the time of its launch, the Polo S2000 (codenamed ‘PQ250’) was so advanced, Volkswagen South Africa Motorsport even gave drivers training before they turned a wheel.

Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen South Africa Motorsport was pleased with the result: ‘Hans and Björn did an amazing job this weekend. The last two rallies we’ve finished in second place, so we’ve been knocking on the door of victory, this is a great finish for the team.’ Rowe claimed the new Polo S2000 would be subject to more testing ahead of the 2013 season, but 2012 proved that the car was able to compete successfully, and showed the promise of even more possibilities to come. 

Did you know? The Polo S2000 is 15mm wider and has an 8m longer wheelbase than the Polo 6R road car


2013 Polo R WRC


he result of uncompromising development of the production car into its rallying equivalent’ is how Volkswagen Motorsport describes the latest addition to the Polo rallying stable, the Polo R WRC. With over 17 months of constant development and testing, the four‑wheel drive 2013 Polo rally car takes a proven motorsport recipe and turns it into a mouthwatering dish. First unveiled on 5 May 2011 in Sardinia, the Polo R WRC heralded the arrival of Volkswagen’s new-found energy and WRC ambitions. Described as ‘the hottest Polo of all time’, the near-300bhp Polo certainly looked the part, all extended wheelarches and aerodynamic spoilers. New FIA rules for the World Rally Championship came into force in 2011, and after three consecutive Dakar Rally victories, it was time for Volkswagen Motorsport to set itself new aims. Under the new rules, all cars entering the WRC have to be powered by 1600cc direct injection and turbocharged engines, are capped to 1200kg, and to keep costs down, have to be developed on existing road cars. The small‑footprinted Polo fits this new WRC template perfectly. That first Sardinia show car was very much just that. With blacked-out windows, it was very much a styling prototype to show that Volkswagen Motorsport meant business. The first ‘proper’ car rolled into the Volkswagen Motorsport foyer on Christmas Eve 2011, a ‘0’ car having tested components in vineyards around the Trier region in Germany a few months earlier. Every part was subjected to rigourous testing procedures, to ensure optimum performance, dimensions and weight, and together with an extreme global testing programme (Finland, Germany, Mexico, Monte Carlo, Spain and Sweden), and computerassisted simulations and modifications, result in the 2013 Polo R WRC. Did you know? The Polo R WRC’s engine consists of around 300 individual parts


Volkswagen Motorsport describes the car as a ‘high-tech jigsaw’ of around 3000 pieces, of which 1360 were designed from scratch for use in motorsport. These don’t include the engine or gearbox, which were based on computer-assisted simulations and elements of production counterparts. The finished Polo R WRC develops 315bhp, put down to the asphalt, gravel and snow via a four-wheel drive chassis and sequential gearbox. Further driving and component testing was carried out via a squad of successful Škoda Fabia S2000 rally cars run in most rounds of the 2012 WRC series. September 2012 saw the final details and evolution of the car (its now off-square wheelarches for example are just one visually-amended motif) and Volkswagen’s new rally weapon was officially unveiled in Monaco on 8 December 2012, ready to contest the Rallye Monte-Carlo from 15 January 2013. Two cars will contest the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship driven by fast and upcoming rally champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila. A third car will be piloted by Intercontinental Rally Champion Andreas Mikkelsen and his co-driver Mikko Antero Markkula from the fourth round of the series, the Rallye de Portugal in April. ‘We are making our debut in the 2013 World Rally Championship with the Polo R WRC, while our rivals already have two year’s experience with the regulations that came into force in 2011,’ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. ‘Volkswagen made a conscious decision to take on this new challenge with a squad bolstered in specific areas. WRC rallies are new territory for the team, while the Polo R WRC has basically been redeveloped from scratch and features many innovative ideas. Our goal is to achieve podium finishes in our first year.’ We suspect better than that. 



Technical specifications Polo Group N 1.4

Polo GTI Super 1600

Polo Super 1600

Polo S2000

Polo R WRC

Year 2000 Displacement (cc)/cylinders 1390/4/ Bore x stroke (mm) 76.5 x 75.6 Power output 112bhp Maximum torque 103lb ft/140Nm Transmission Front-wheel drive, five-speed manual Engine control Magnetti Marelli Clutch Sachs 200mm single‑plate sintered metal disc Exhaust Remus sports system, FIA-approved catalytic converter Brakes OEM system, Pagid brake pads Suspension Proflex Group N adjustable shock absorbers (bound and rebound, ride height and camber) Wheels 5.5 x 14” OZ Racing equipment Sports steering wheel, strut brace, front lower cross brace, sports air filter, bonnet pins, racing wheel studs Safety equipment OMP welded‑in rollcage, factory reinforced bodyshell, OMP 6-point seat belts, fire extinguishing system, master switch Additional accessories Sports gear set plus two extra final drive ratios, limited-slip differential, hydraulic handbrake, mud flaps, footplate, brake balance adjustment

Year 2001 Displacement (cc)/cylinders 1597/4/ Bore x stroke (mm) 76.5 x 86.9 Power output 198bhp Maximum torque 153lb ft/208Nm Transmission Front-wheel drive, six-speed Gemini sequential shift Clutch Sachs 200mm single‑plate sintered metal disc Brakes (front/rear) 355mm x 28mm ventilated discs (tarmac), 310mm x 28mm ventilated discs (gravel), Alcon 4-piston aluminium calipers/232mm x 9mm discs (tarmac and gravel), Volkswagen 1-piston aluminium calipers Suspension Proflex adjustable shock absorbers (bound and rebound, ride height and camber) Wheels 7 x 17” OZ (tarmac), 6 x 15” OZ (gravel) Steering Power-assisted rack and pinion Weight 950kg Wheelbase (mm) 2426 Track (front/rear, mm) 1447/1434 Length/width/height (mm) 3743/1659/1389-1424 Manufacturer/team Volkswagen Racing UK

Year 2002 Displacement (cc)/cylinders 1598/4/ Bore x stroke (mm) 76.5 x 86.9 Power output 212bhp Maximum torque 132lb ft/180Nm Engine control Bosch 3.1 Transmission Front-wheel drive, mechanical limited slip differential, six-speed Gemini sequential shift Clutch AP Racing single-plate sintered metal disc Brakes (front/rear) 355mm x 28mm ventilated discs (tarmac), 300mm x 28mm ventilated discs (gravel), Alcon 4-piston aluminium calipers/232mm x 10mm solid discs (tarmac and gravel), VW 1-piston aluminium calipers Suspension Öhlins 3-way adjustable shock absorbers ((bound and rebound) Wheels 7 x 17” OZ (tarmac), 6 x 15” OZ (gravel) Tyres 17/63-17 (tarmac), 16/65-15 (gravel) Steering TRW power-assisted rack and pinion Bodyshell Self-supporting steel body, welded-in rollcage (25 CrMo 4), aerodynamic body kit Weight 1000kg Wheelbase (mm) 2482 Track (front/rear, mm) 1600/1598 Length/width/height (mm) 3891/1799/1394 Manufacturer/team Volkswagen Racing GmbH, Volkswagen Motorsport GmbH

Year 2012 Displacement (cc)/cylinders 1984/4/ Bore x stroke (mm) 82.5 x 92.8 Power output 260bhp Maximum torque 173lb ft/235Nm Ignition Bosch MS3.1 electronic, 128MB data logging Transmission Four-wheel drive, mechanical limited slip differential, six-speed sequential shift Clutch AP Racing twin-plate Brakes (front/rear) 300mm ventilated discs, 4-piston Alcon calipers/300mm ventilated discs, 4-piston Alcon calipers, brake balance bar Suspension MacPherson struts, Reiger shock absorbers, coil springs, fabricated wishbones, anti-roll bar Wheels 8 x 18” alloy (tarmac), 6.5 x 15” alloy (gravel) Tyres Dunlop DZ02G 235/40 R18 (tarmac), Dunlop Direzza DZ86RW 195/65 R15 (gravel) Steering Thyssen Krupp power‑assisted rack and pinion Weight 1150kg Wheelbase (mm) 2470 Track (front/rear, mm) 1587/1587 Length/width/ground clearance (mm) 3916/1800/170 Manufacturer/team Volkswagen South Africa Motorsport

Year 2013 Displacement (cc)/cylinders 1600/4/turbocharged Power output 315bhp Maximum torque 313lb ft/425Nm Engine control Bosch Air restrictor (mm) 33 Transmission Four-wheel drive, multi-plate limited slip differential, six-speed sequential shift Clutch Hydraulically-actuated sintered metal double disc Brakes (front/rear) 355mm ventilated discs (tarmac), 300mm ventilated discs (gravel), 4-piston aluminium calipers Suspension MacPherson struts, ZF shock absorbers (suspension travel: 180mm – tarmac, 275mm – gravel) Wheels 8 x 18” (tarmac), 7 x 15” (gravel) Tyres Michelin competition Steering Power-assisted rack and pinion Bodyshell FIA-conformant reinforced steel body Weight 1200kg Wheelbase (mm) 2480 Track (front/rear, mm) 16610 Length/width/height (mm) 3976/1820/1356 Acceleration (0-62mph, seconds) 3.9 Top speed (mph) 124 Manufacturer/team Volkswagen Motorsport GmbH

Note: 1.6 version was also available, with 130bhp, 110lb ft/150Nm 1.6-litre engine, Siemens engine control, and 6 x 15” OZ racing wheels


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PoloDriver.com: Polo – A Rally Success  

As the Polo R WRC takes the runner-up position on the 2013 Rallye Monte Carlo, PoloDriver celebrates its rallying predecessors

PoloDriver.com: Polo – A Rally Success  

As the Polo R WRC takes the runner-up position on the 2013 Rallye Monte Carlo, PoloDriver celebrates its rallying predecessors