Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1 – Ixo

Polo R
2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
Pilots: S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia
Team: Volkswagen Motorsport
Race: 2nd overall (WRC1 class) at the Australia Rally 2016
Ixo - RAM650 (diecast)

Volkswagen first participated in the World Rally Championship between 1978 and 1988, using the Golf and Golf GTI. Subsequently, from 1993 to 1997 VW offered the Golf Mk. III and IV as a kit car for privateers in Group A. Unfortunately though, results were negligible, and after those two periods the Wolfsburg manufacturer left rallying. However, 14 years later it was time for VW to get back to the WRC. By race standards then, the Golf was too big, so they needed another option – like the smaller Polo. With that, the development of the new Polo R WRC began in 2011. Though it looked like the street version, the similarities were only skin deep. The R WRC had a reinforced chassis with steel floor panels, and a lightweight carbon fiber body. Wheel arches were extra wide and it also received a huge rear carbon fiber wing.

Polo R
The air scoop on the roof is there to provide fresh air for the cabin.

And of course, the R WRC needed a proper engine. As the basis, VW used the Golf GTI Mk V’s inline-4. To comply with the “global race engine” standard of the WRC, VW reduced displacement from 1984 to 1600 cm³. With a new turbocharger and intercooler, the unit delivered 234 kW (318 hp), with 430 Nm at 5000 rpm. The power went to the four wheels through a 6-speed sequential gearbox, and the car used a McPherson suspension system. With everything said and done, at 1200 kg, the car could reach 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds. Top speed was “over 200 km/h”. The development of the Polo R WRC took 17 months, and the car was ready for the 2013 season of the WRC. VW arrived with a two-car works team, in the hands of Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia and Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila.

Polo R
The Polo R WRC ended Citroën’s streak of five consecutive world titles. 

The Polo R WRC began the 2013 season with a bang. The car came in second place in the first race of the year, at Monte Carlo. Eventually, it won 10 of the 13 races! With that, Ogier won the driver’s championship and VW the manufacturer’s title. VW further developed the car for 2014, and it won the first six rallies of the season. Between Ogier and Latvala, the Polo R WRC won 12 races, with the driver’s championship going again to Ogier. Moreover, VW again won the manufacturer’s championship. The previous success repeated in the 2015 season. Ogier / Ingrassia won the pilot’s and co-pilot’s championship and VW took home the manufacturer’s title. With such a dominating performance, VW only made minor adjustments to the car. However, they added a third car to the team, piloted by Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jæger.

With his second place in Australia, Ogier won the WRC again – 108 points ahead of the 2nd place.

The Volkswagen Motorsport Team started out the season at Monte Carlo with a bang, coming in first and second. The 2016 WRC consisted of 13 races, and the Polo R WRC came in first 9 times! The last race of the season was the Kennards Hire Rally Australia, from November 17th to 20th. Piloting Polo R WRC #1, the duo Ogier / Ingrassia came in second place, not even 15 seconds behind Polo #9. Of the 13 races,  Ogier won six races, with another three second places and two third places. With those results, Ogier won his fourth WRC championship in a row. Moreover, VW won their fourth manufacturer’s title. And with that, the Polo R WRC became one of the all time greatest rally cars.

Spark also offers a few Polo R WRC. Yet, compared to my Puma, Ixo delivers a heckuva model, therefore I can’t see why spend more.

I wanted a Polo WRC because I always had a fancy for the civilian Polo. I almost bought one in 2018 and then again in 2020. So yes, I think the Polo is a pretty cool car. And of course, the Polo WRC, with four championships, is what I consider a rally legend. In scale the model came out spot-on and totally awesome. Well, erm, a couple of small aerials are missing…🤐 Nonetheless, missing aerials not withstanding, being from Ixo, it is very reasonably priced and easy to find on evilBay. Most definitively this is another model that proves that Ixo is a great option for rally cars, as I talked about this in early January. So, if you’re a rally collector, or have a fancy for the Polo, this model is a GREAT acquisition.

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