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Volkswagen has released a teaser sketch of its upcoming Polo GTI R5, a rally version of the latest Polo GTI hot hatch.

Making around 270hp (201kW), the Polo GTI R5 will become available to professional teams and drivers from the second half of 2018 to compete in various global motorsport series, including the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).

“With the Polo GTI R5 we are hoping to transfer our expertise from four WRC titles to customer racing successfully, and offer a first-class racing machine for countless rally championships from national series to the WRC,” said Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport’s director.

“Before the first race outing next year, we will subject the Polo GTI R5 to rigorous testing to make sure it is prepared for the extremely varied track conditions around the world.”

Features include a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, four-wheel drive, a sequential five-speed racing transmission, and a “comprehensive safety package” – which likely includes racing necessities like a full cage, FIA fuel cell and harnesses.

The Polo GTI R5 follows in the footsteps of the Golf GTI TCR, with Volkswagen Motorsport expanding its involvement in customer racing to now include rally.

Meanwhile, the road version of the Polo GTI (above) is scheduled to launch in Europe by the end of the year, while Australians will be able get their hands on the new-generation hot hatch sometime next year. Volkswagen has officially said the wider Polo range will lob Down Under in the first quarter of 2018.

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