Sources say that before March ends, Volkswagen is expected to confirm its program for the World Rally Championship. On March 22, Volkswagen will have a party to celebrate its Dakar rally raid success and this would be the time that the carmaker will talk about its WRC campaign, especially with the new 1600cc-based regulations.
It was earlier rumored that VW will base its new rally car on a Scirocco but it has revealed that the Polo is the model currently being developed. Sources also say that French engineer Francois-Xavier Demaison, who is credited for having handled Citroën, Peugeot and Subaru campaigns, is leading the development of the model.
Another personality who is deeply involved in the WRC campaign is double world rally champion Carlos Sainz -- a Dakar winner with VW.
Sainz can draw on his contacts at Toyota Team Europe, which is the Cologne-based engineering operation that was halted when Toyota ended its F1 program. It’s not yet known who VW is considering to be its drivers; however, it said that it’s not crucial to get a German driver at present.
Autosport speculates that VW attempted but failed to sign Sebastien Loeb, and that Petter Solberg may be one of its remaining options. It’s also believed that the VW WRC deal was secured only after intense internal debate within the VW Group.
Sources inside Skoda say that the carmaker is upset with having its own WRC aspirations set aside to make way for the Volkswagen program. Instead, Skoda will participate in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. [via autocar]