Volkswagen World Rally Championship programme safe until 2019

Volkswagen's future in the World Rally Championship has been reconfirmed until the end of 2019 despite recent upheaval at the company

Volkswagen World Rally Championship programme safe until 2019

The Volkswagen Group board signed off on the German firm's long-term agreement to stay in the WRC last year, but the recent emissions scandal - and subsequent departure of key board members - undermined that commitment.

Late last month, the new board confirmed nothing had changed.

Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito told Autosport: "The old board approved the programme until 2019.

"But in November when the new guys were in we got the programme approved for this season and they said: 'You come back in the spring and talk about the future'.

"So we went back to the board with our programme until 2019 and we got this approved as it was before but this time with the new board.

"It's nothing new, but it's proof that the future until 2019 is done."

Jurgen Stockmann, VW board member for sales, marketing and aftersales, told Autosport's sister publication Autocar: "The WRC is our sport. We have achieved incredible things in a short space of time in terms of results, and it is a motivator for the whole company in terms of how it shows us what is possible when a team works together.

"That team focus is critical to us, and it extends out to the many fans of the sport who follow us.

"Our [WRC] Facebook page is enormous, with more than 7.5million people reached - double that of the Bayern Munich page we gave.

"It gives us a very passionate following and creates imagery that it's hard not to feel strongly about. We will stay in the sport."

VW has dominated the WRC since it began the Polo R WRC programme in 2013, claiming three straight titles with Sebastien Ogier and winning 37 of the 42 rallies in that time.

Frank Welsch, board position responsible for the Volkswagen brand's technical development, added: "We like very much being three times champions, and we have already started work on the next generation car for 2017, some time ago now.

"The commitment is there to carry on. We are committed to rallying for the next three years at least.

"We hope we will continue to be as successful as we are now against the new competitors we expect to see."

Volkswagen's 2017 Polo R WRC is already well into its test programme.

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