Volkswagen has revealed that it will use its forthcoming WRC outings with a Skoda Fabia as part of a talent assessment programme ahead of its full-time arrival in the sport in 2013.
While development of the new Polo WRC continues, VW Motorsport will contest a number of selected rallies using Skoda's Super 2000-spec Fabia.
VW's first foray into the WRC with the Fabia will come on Rally Finland next month, with the announcment of the entry list revealing the news that Andreas Mikkelsen and Joonas Lindroos will tackle the event in Fabia S2000s entered under the Volkswagen Motorsport banner.
Although experienced VW driver Nasser Al-Attiyah is believed to be close to signing a deal to drive one of the Polo WRCs and Petter Solberg has also been linked with the team, motorsport director Kris Nissen said the manufacturer was keen to give young talent a chance – with the initial outings being used to evaluate new drivers in competitive conditions.
"In addition to a few top-calibre rally racers we want to present top talents in our 2013 driver line-up,” Nissen said. "Therefore, we will be giving young racers in particular an opportunity to show their skills at our runs in competitive conditions.
“This is the best way to see who is doing a good job of driving and would fit into the Volkswagen rally team. It would be great if we could find a new Walter Röhrl or Michèle Mouton using this approach.”