There will be no Volkswagen Polo Rs competing in the 2017 World Rally Championship after it was disallowed from homologating the car to the latest specification machine.
Having notched up four dominant WRC titles in consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2016, VW shocked the sport by announcing its withdrawal shortly before the end of last year.
Nonetheless, despite its factory exit, the manufacturer revealed at the time it would be prepared to make its already well-developed 2017 Polo R – built to the latest technical specifications – with a bid by Martin Prokop and Nasser Al-Attiyah reportedly on the cards.
However, VW has now confirmed that it is not possible to delegate the VW effort to a privateer concern, a decision it says it regrets but respects.
“Following customer enquiries, Volkswagen Motorsport asked the FIA for a waiver of the homologation of the 2017 Volkswagen Polo World Rally Car, with the purpose being to rent it out to private drivers and teams," VW Motorsport Director Sven Smeets revealed.
"It now turns out that this is not possible under the current WRC regulations. We fully accept the result, but at the same time regret it in the interests of our customers. We would like to thank the FIA for the very constructive discussions.”
The news is a blow to Andreas Mikkelsen, who had hoped to benefit from any potential privateer Polo WRC entry having been forced to switch to the lower WRC2 category in a Skoda Fabia.
His former team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala secured WRC drives with M-Sport Ford and Toyota respectively after VW's announcement.