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!

Citroen unveils 2017 C3 WRC

"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."

shares
comments
Citroen 2017 C3 WRC challenger launched in Abu Dhabi
Previous article

Citroen 2017 C3 WRC challenger launched in Abu Dhabi

Next article

M-Sport reveals first look at Sebastien Ogier's 2017 WRC livery

M-Sport reveals first look at Sebastien Ogier's 2017 WRC livery
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

WRC
Jul 18, 2022
How the WRC captures its stunning visuals Plus

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals

Whether it’s the mountains of Monte Carlo, the snow of Sweden or the Kenya Savannah, the World Rally Championship is able to beam some of motorsport’s most spectacular footage to television screens while operating in the harshest of environments. Autosport went behind the scenes to unearth the secrets that make this logistical challenge possible

WRC
Jul 7, 2022