Volkswagen Motorsport has given a first look at the Polo R WRC it will campaign in this year's World Rally Championship as it prepares to challenge for a fourth consecutive title.
The German firm has dominated the sport with Sebastien Ogier at the wheel for the past three seasons, but while main rivals Citroen have reduced its involvement this year, it faces renewed assaults from Hyundai – with its new i20 – and M-Sport Ford.
Retaining the same three-man line-up of Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen – which have locked out the top three positions in the standings for the past two seasons -, VW Motorsport boss Joss Capito says the strict regulations work in the team's favour since it only needs to 'fine-tune' to keep the car competitive.
“We are about to defend our world championship title for the third time in a row,” he said. “The opposition has not been sleeping, and has modified its cars for the new season. So have we, of course: the changes to the Polo R WRC are basically fine-tuning and detailed improvements to make the world championship-winning car even better.
“You have to bear in mind that the regulations in the World Rally Championship only allow a few modifications within a homologation period. Thanks to this stability, it is possible to challenge for the title for several years with an existing car, making only detailed improvements. That is precisely our goal for 2016.”
Regarding modifications to the Polo R WRC, VW freely admits it hasn't had to make fundamental changes, with the main focus being on reliability, while the striking Red Bull-backed livery is also familiar.
The opening round of the 2016 World Rally Championship kicks off with the Monte Carlo Rally on January 21st January.