Volkswagen has tweaked the livery of the Polo R WRC ahead of the start of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship season, which gets underway next week with Rallye Monte Carlo.

In addition to the 'striking' new design, which features grey and blue stripes [you can compare the 2014 livery to 2013 below], the car has also been 'honed under the bonnet' and benefits from a number of so-called 'detailed improvements'.

"The 2014 version of the Polo R WRC is the sum of the detailed further developments performed on the 2013 car," VW explained. "Last season, the team played ten so-called jokers, which allowed it to alter individual components compared to the homologation documents submitted previously.

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"Besides optimising chassis components and new set-up variants for the drive train, the priority for the engineers was to improve the stability of the car. Volkswagen [also] used one joker to install a new software version for the on-board electronics."

"If you don't go forwards in motorsport, you go backwards," added Volkswagen motorsport director Jost Capito. "When it comes to technical development, you simply cannot afford to let up for a single second.

"Although we won some laurels in 2013 we have certainly not rested on them. The manufacturers in the World Rally Championship agreed not to homologate any new World Rally Cars for the 2014 season. Despite this though, we tried to take full advantage of the options still available to us. Many detailed aspects of the 2014 Polo R WRC have been further developed since we made our debut twelve months ago. Every single member of the team cannot wait now to find out where we stand compared to the strong competition we will face from Citro?n and Ford, as well as our new opposition at Hyundai."

Volkswagen's 2014 WRC livery

Volkswagen's 2013 WRC livery