While Volkswagen’s dearly departed World Rally Championship team is officially gone, the car they developed for the 2017 season will likely come back to race. Qatari rally driver and ultra badass Nasser Al-Attiyah confirmed to Motorsport.com that he has been working towards running the 2017 Volkswagen Polo R WRC car.
Two-time Dakar Rally winner Al-Attiyah told Motorsport.com:
We are trying to drive the new Polo R 2017. As you know, Qatar has some shares in the VW Group.
I met the officials here in Qatar and we are trying to make that possible. If it’s possible, then why not? If we get the confirmation, then I’ll do the full WRC season next year.
The Qatar sovereign wealth fund also owns a 14.6 percent stake in Volkswagen. It would make sense if they wanted to see the ultimate showcase of what the brand can make keep going somehow, even if it’s in the hands of a privateer. Volkswagen’s final WRC season gave them their fourth manufacturer’s title in a row after only having competed full-time in the sport since 2013.
While earlier reports indicated that Volkswagen wouldn’t be selling the 2017 Polo R WRC, it seems as though everything is available for a price. Volkswagen Group executive Wolfgang Dürheimer confirmed to Autocar that getting a privateer team to run the 2017-spec cars was a high priority, so long as it’s at no cost to Volkswagen—for obvious (Dieselgate) reasons—and the privateers attract quality talent behind the wheel.