Volkswagen Motorsport has defended the strength of its Polo R5 following the release of shocking pictures of the car at a recent test.
The pictures of the R5, circulating on social media, shows the complete rear axle of the Polo having broken away from the test car during testing in the south of France.
Volkswagen Motorsport's technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison told Autosport the failure happened during 'destruction testing' and that it was comfortable with the outcome of the test in south-west France.
Sweden's Pontus Tidemand was driving the car at the time of the incident.
"We were testing the car in Fontjoncouse," said Demaison. "The roads in this place are used to test cars for Dakar; it's rougher than anything we would have seen on the Acropolis Rally. It's extreme, that's why we go there.
"Being honest, we go to this place to break the car. This picture came after running the car for four days and pushing the components a long way past the point where we would have expected them to fail.
"This is what we were there [in Fontjoncouse] for.
"This car is for the customer, we have to make this test for them - it wouldn't be acceptable for them to take away their car from us and have problems because we didn't do enough durability testing."
Asked about the key component which failed and allowed the axle to break free from the car, a Volkswagen Motorsport spokesperson said: "This happened more than one week ago, we made an investigation and we are satisfied and happy with the result [of that investigation].
"I'm sure you understand we're not going to go into the precise details of the components in question."
The FIA is due in Hannover to inspect the Polo R5 for homologation this time next month, with the car expected to make its competitive debut at Rally of Spain on October 25.
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