Right after the Volkswagen Group (VAG) swung the axe on Audi’s Le Mans programme, another name has sadly appeared on the chopping board. A report from AutoCar revealed that Volkswagen will terminate its mega-successful World Rally Championship (WRC) team at the end of the year.
The decision follows after a board meeting took place in Wolfsburg, one that will see 200 of the staffs involved be transferred to VAG’s other motorsports divisions. This includes its customer racing programs such as TCR touring car, GT racing and its Skoda rally programme.
Despite having made the 2017 Volkswagen Polo-R for the upcoming season, VAG has no plans to lease it to customer teams. Instead, the Polo will forever be kept in the factory, perhaps as a memento of what could have been. Since joining the WRC in 2013, the team celebrated 41 victories, four drivers titles and four manufacturer’s titles, including the birthing of a modern day rally legend, Sebastien Ogier. The final race in Australia will effectively be Volkswagen’s last appearance on the greatest dirt racing in the world.
The decision was partly caused by the dieselgate scandal, where VAG will have to pay over £10 billion (approximately RM51.3 billion) in a settlement to either repurchase or fix 500,000 cars in the US. That has caused a financial strain in VAG that ultimately led to the demise of its successful but terribly expensive WEC and WRC programmes.
Perhaps now’s a good time to introduce a special edition, hot Polo R for the road, eh? Instead of creating something like this Polo Trophy R.