Former World Rally Champions Petter Solberg and Marcus Gronholm have completed tests in Sweden with the new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 ahead of its expected WRC 2 debut later this year.

The new Volkswagen was put through its paces in a four-day test in snowy and icy conditions near Kall in Sweden. Solberg led the bulk of the testing, completing over 300km in one day, before handing over to fellow WRC champion Gronholm with 2013 junior WRC champion and reigning WRC 2 champion Pontus Tidemand also on testing duties.

Volkswagen, who has already taken 15 orders of the new WRC 2 car, plans to homologate the car later this summer with first deliveries expected in time for the second half of the season.

“It was just fantastic to be back behind the wheel of a rally car again and to help out the Volkswagen family,” Solberg told WRC.com. “It was a really fun day. The team has done such a great job and the car is fantastic to drive. I didn’t want to get out at the end of the day. We covered almost 300 kilometres in one day – very different to what I’m used to in the World Rallycross Championship.

“I used my years of rallying experience to work with the engineers on small changes to the car. Big thanks to all the team for their work, and to Veronica Engan for stepping into the co-driver’s seat.”

Volkswagen withdrew its factory effort from the World Rally Championship at the end of 2016 after the group was hit with cost-cutting measures after the Diesel gate scandal.

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