One Badass Wants To Save VW's Orphaned 2017 World Rally Championship Car

Photo Credit: FIA WRC
Photo Credit: FIA WRC

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.

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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.

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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DISCUSSION

wagons-midwest
Wagons-Midwest

VW’s decision to scrap the WRC program was for image not cost. Continuing the program - even having someone else paying for it - wrecks the intention behind killing it off in the first place. It wasn’t a great idea to begin with but going back on it just makes it look worse.

Short of Ogier no privateer talent is going to make the Polo a contender, and then only if the new owner manages to hire back a lot of the team that’s already been out finding work for the last couple months. I like Mikklesen a lot but he would need the same support if not more. Latvala’s already going to Toyota and he was not going to get any better. Nasser may do events but he was never a threat in the IRC or WRC so don’t expect miracles.

For WRC it’s not bad at all. If Nasser can afford a team for himself and make cars available to new drivers that need to get some experience in WRC equipment that’s a good thing. Even Loeb did a few events in the old Corolla WRC while Citroen was working on the Xsara.