Volkswagen halt 2014 development to ensure WRC future
Volkswagen Motorsport has agreed to halt development of its Polo R in an effort to help the sport and the presence of Citroen and M-Sport in the World Rally Championship next year.
As reported by Autosport.com’s David Evans, Volkswagen Motorsport has lobbied the FIA to maintain the current specification of cars for the 2014 WRC season, despite the fact the sport’s top-flight category was to reach the end of a homologation cycle at the end of 2013.
The $5m pricetag of producing a new car would likely mean the end to M-Sport’s participation in the WRC next year so the actions by VW have been extremely noble, even if they do compromise the German brand’s chance of future success.
Volkswagen Motorsport director and former Ford of Europe Motorsport boss Jost Capito has said the future of the sport remains priority if his team is to achieve ultimate success.
“We talked about what is best for the future and what’s the best to keep the level of entries up in the championship,” Capito told Autosport.com.
“And after talking about all of this, we found that the best way is to stay with the cars we have for this year.”
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson was grateful that his former colleague is working towards a brighter future for everyone involved.
“We are very grateful for this,” said Wilson. “As you can imagine for the likes of myself and Yves [Matton, Citroen team principal], it’s a real positive move.
“We know we can still be competitive next year without having to spend millions on development.
“This has kept the championship open and, to be honest, we couldn’t have done a new homologation unless Ford had come back; we wouldn’t have been in position to spend the millions needed.
“OK, Volkswagen has still got the best two, if not three, drivers in the sport, but at least, after Jost’s proposal, we know that the cars are going to be on a level playing field for next season.”
The FIA confirmed that, via a fax vote, the current homologation of World Rally Cars has been frozen until the end of the 2014 season.
This weekend sees the the World Rally Championship head to Italy for the Rally Italia Sardegna with Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala first and second in the Drivers’ Standings.
2013 Drivers Championship
2013 Manufacturers Championship
|2||Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT||164|
|3||Qatar M-Sport WRT||83|
|4||Qatar World Rally Team||71|
|5||Abu Dhabi Citroën Total WRT||29|
|6||Jipocar Czech National Team||27|
|7||Volkswagen Motorsport II||26|
|8||Lotos Rally Team||12|