Volkswagen will enter the World Rally Championship in 2013 with the Volkswagen Polo R WRC, but fans of the hot little hatch will be forced to watch on from the sidelines.
Volkswagen Australia’s Nadine Nethery confirmed the Polo R would be a one-off for the WRC series and would not inspire a production model.
Ms Nethery confirmed it was not just Australia missing out, but insisted a Polo R based on the fifth-generation hatch would not be sold in any global market.
The four-wheel drive Polo R WRC will be powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with around 220kW of power.
Volkswagen development division board member, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, said the brand’s entry into the championship was a result of new rules for this year’s WRC series (maximum engine displacement of 1600cc, direct injection and turbocharging approved).
“The new Technical Regulations of the World Rally Championship are an ideal fit for Volkswagen's philosophy with respect to the development of production vehicles," Dr Hackenberg said. "Downsizing, high efficiency and reliability are top priorities for our customers.
“The timing of the WRC debut is optimal for Volkswagen. The big task of engineering a vehicle that is competitive and capable of winning at a large number of challenges holds great appeal for us.”
Volkswagen had success in rallying in the 1980s, with Kenneth Eriksson and Peter Diekmann winning the world champions title in 1986 in a Golf GTI 16V.
More recently, it has dominated the Dakar Rally – considered the toughest motorsport event on Earth – with the Touareg taking out the race for the past three years.