VW 2017 WRC Polo was more conservative than rivals' cars

Volkswagen's 2017 World Rally Championship contender was relatively conservative compared to rivals, according to its creator, but would have been tougher

VW 2017 WRC Polo was more conservative than rivals' cars

Volkswagen's 2017 World Rally Championship contender was relatively conservative compared to rivals, according to its creator, but would have been tougher.

The 2017-specification Polo R WRC will never turn a wheel in anger due to VW's decision to quit the series, although earlier this month the manufacturer left the door open for the car to compete in the hands of privateers.

VW technical director Francois-Xavier Demaison said having seen homologation details of rival teams - a standard part of the homologation process - his squad appeared to have played it safer than others.

"It looks like we had been quite a lot more conservative with the aero than some of the other teams," he told Autosport.

"I still think that our compromise would have been more reliable.

"Look at Rally Australia: the drivers were all cutting like idiots and next year they will be knocking parts off the car.

"We know this because we have sprayed the countryside with carbon while we have been testing!

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"We went more conservative because we thought it would be better to keep good downforce for the whole loop rather than have great downforce for five kilometres then nothing for the rest."

Asked if he'd been surprised at what he had seen on some cars, Demaison added: "Yes. Particularly Toyota. Their car looks quite different [in terms of aero].

"What seems strange is that they are homologating some aero which they didn't seem to have run already, unless they did it in a really secret test."

Demaison admitted building a rally car that will never be seen in competition was painful.

"It hurts, of course it hurts. But this is life," he said. "It's not the first time this has happened.

"When you work for a manufacturer, you have the good budget and make a good car, but you have to also accept that this can happen also.

"If there is anything, then it's good that we stop when we have won four championships.

"It would have been worse to stop if we'd been shit."

The Frenchman - who was recently voted onto the Volkswagen Motorsport board - will remain with the German firm, but admitted he still had ambitions elsewhere in motorsport.

"I haven't had any offers, at least not in rallying," he said.

"I would like to win Le Mans, but maybe that's difficult now with [VW-owned] Audi stopping.

"Le Mans has always been a real personal interest for me."

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