Volkswagen now testing final 2017 World Rally Car specification

Volkswagen has started testing its all-new Polo R WRC in its full and final 2017 trim, before its specification is submitted to the FIA next month

Volkswagen now testing final 2017 World Rally Car specification

The World Rally Championship car is now running an all-new aerodynamic package, which bears little resemblance to what has been seen during its development so far (picture above from earlier tests).

It completed fast gravel testing with new wings in late August, and will be run on rockier roads before its plans go to the FIA on October 25.

Volkswagen's technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison elected not to say where the test took place other than "close to Finland", but outlined "big changes" from what had previously emerged.

"We were lucky, we tested the last two weeks and no pictures [came out], nothing - we only suspect some spies from Toyota were there, but they did not show anything," Demaison said.

"The front bumper is completely different, the rear bumper and diffuser is bigger and different again.

"The front fenders have changed and the rear fenders have air intakes, the bonnet's also completely different and now we have much wider doors.

"The rear wing's bigger with more overhang. The car will look really quite different when you see it.

"Like everything the aero is a compromise between downforce and performance and reliability and that's our job in the six weeks when we count down to giving the FIA plans."

Hyundai announced earlier this week that it was now testing its definitive 2017 specification.

Kevin Abbring has carried out the majority of the running, with Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon getting their first miles in it after the last WRC round in Germany.

M-SPORT HITS DAKAR PROVING GROUND

Work on M-Sport's Ford Fiesta RS WRC is also progressing, and last month included a week of running on Dakar-type roads in the south of France with Matthew Wilson, Ott Tanak and Eric Camilli driving.

The Fontjoncouse site close to Narbonne is among the best venues in Europe for destruction and endurance running of Dakar racers as well as WRC machinery.

The Fiesta remains in an interim specification, with the 2017 engine and transmission running in a modified current shell (pictured in UK testing last month) - Ford's all-new Fiesta road car won't be revealed until next year - but Wilson says the development process has been rapid.

"I can't believe how well the chassis is coming along," he said.

"Last year, when we were starting out on the 2017 development, we ran a bigger restrictor in the engine and put that into a current chassis; it was wild.

"Giving the current chassis all that extra power, it couldn't really deal with it.

"But now, everything has progressed so well, the whole package feels really balanced - the chassis development is running alongside the engine work and the car feels sensational."

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