Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito has said the manufacturer is looking at 2013 as a 'learning year' following the launch of its World Rally Championship programme in Monaco at the weekend.
Having spent 2012 working on developing its new car, VW will debut the Polo WRC in Monte Carlo next month with Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala at the wheel – while Andreas Mikkelsen is due to join them later in the year.
Big things are expected from the German marque as it takes the fight to Citroen and M-Sport during the new season but Capito insisted it was important not to get carried away with expectations given that the car has yet to compete in anger.
“The Polo R WRC is yet to complete a single competitive kilometre,” he said, “[and] it will not go head to head against its rivals until the Rally Monte Carlo. As such, it is impossible to accurately judge where we are compared to our rivals, who are undoubtedly both strong and experienced.
“We are very excited to see how the Polo performs – as, I expect, is everyone on the rally scene. I can, however, assure you that we have done everything in our power to ensure that we are competitive from the word go. Our approach has not changed at all: 2013 will be a learning year with the Polo R WRC.”
With that in mind, Capito said the aim for the first year of the Polo programme was very much on scoring podium finishes before aiming for victories in 2014.
“In principal, you cannot plan sporting success,” he said. “However, you can only achieve goals if you first identify them. They are as such: in 2013 we want to achieve top-three finishes under our own steam. Our objective for 2014 is to win races, and to challenge for the World Championship title is our goal for 2015.
“You can count on one thing from Volkswagen over the next few years: we will put our heart and soul into achieving these goals.”