Need to know more about Volkswagen’s WRC efforts? Will they be at Dakar 2011? Here’s a small interview with the Head of Volkswagen Motorsport, Kris Nissen. New pics in the gallery as well.
Why is Volkswagen entering the WRC?
“The new Technical Regulations of the World Rally Championship ideally fit Volkswagen’s philosophy with respect to the development of production vehicles. Downsizing, reliability and high efficiency are top priorities for our customers. The timing of the WRC entry is optimal for Volkswagen. The sporting challenge of designing a vehicle that is competitive and in contention for victory in a large field of challengers holds great appeal for us.”
Will Volkswagen continue to contest the Dakar Rally?
“There will be no factory commitment at the next Dakar Rally in 2012. The entry of a customer team is being considered at the moment. There are several parties interested in such a project. Volkswagen has achieved all of its aims at the Dakar Rally. We are the first and so far only manufacturer to have won the world’s toughest cross-country rally with innovative diesel technology. And not just once but three consecutive times – Volkswagen has gone down in history with this hat-trick. The “Dakar” will always be near and dear to our hearts and remain a part of our success story. Now, we are tackling a new sporting challenge with great enthusiasm.”
For how many years is the WRC commitment designed?
“Initially, our program is designed until 2015. After that time, the Management Board will take further decisions according to schedule.”
What are Volkswagen’s aims? For which time frame?
“Like in any other sport, victory can be the only aim in motorsport. We definitely want to be in contention for the title, and win it too, within the foreseeable future. Please bear with us while we are not able to state an exact date of shooting for the title.”
When will the car be used for the first tests? What is the schedule for Volkswagen’s first rally run?
“The concept and vehicle design for the Polo R WRC started in February. The roll-out is planned before the end of 2011. Before in-depth trials in an extensive testing program start with the vehicle in 2012 the team will already receive an opportunity in 2011 to gather initial experiences in the World Rally Championship. At the end of the season entries with vehicles of the Volkswagen Group’s Skoda brand are planned at selected rallies.”
Has Volkswagen already signed drivers for the WRC?
“At the moment we do not have a driver line-up. There is no reason to hurry because we are at a very early stage of our rally commitment. We are taking the time to carefully look at the market. We are, however, already receiving a lot of inquiries. There is keen interest in our project, and we are pleased about that.”
Will there be a German driver at Volkswagen?
“We are carefully watching the market here as well. It would be great if we had a new Walter Rohrl in Germany. While that would no doubt be helpful to us and to the WRC the drivers’ skills are more important to us than their nationalities. In this area we will no doubt be taking a decision within the next 20 months as well.”
- Volkswagen Motorsport