Volkswagen has confirmed that it will enter the World Rally Championship from 2013 onwards with a car based on its Polo model.
The Polo R WRC will be designed to the WRC's new regulations and will see VW join Citroen, Ford and MINI in the field, with the possibility that other manufacturers could yet make the move into the series.
"The new Technical Regulations of the World Rally Championship are an ideal fit for Volkswagen's philosophy with respect to the development of production vehicles,” Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Management Board of the Volkswagen Brand, Development Division. "Downsizing, high efficiency and reliability are top priorities for our customers. The timing of the WRC debut is optimal for Volkswagen.
“The big task of engineering a vehicle that is competitive and capable of winning at a large number of challenges holds great appeal for us.”
VW's move into the WRC will come as part of a five-year plan, which starts now with a development programme ahead of the first WRC outing.
Carlos Sainz will play a role in the development of the car having played a key role in VW's success in the Dakar Rally in recent years, with the WRC programme signalling an end to a factory assault on the South American event. The Race Touareg 3 is likely to be used by privateer teams next season.
VW plans to work alongside Skoda teams during the remainder of the year to gain extra knowledge which can then be transferred over to its own programme.
No drivers have been announced as part of the actual racing programme.