Just hours after claiming its fourth title in a row among the World Rally brands, thus crowning a season that also included the fourth consecutive award for Frenchman Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen stunned the motorsport world by announcing its decision to leave the category at the end. of year. The news took everyone by surprise as VW Motorsport had the new Polo-R developed under the technical regulations that will come into effect in 2017 well in advance.
“Volkswagen faces enormous challenges. With the forthcoming extension of the electrification of our vehicle range, we must focus all our efforts on important future technologies. We have far exceeded our sporting goals in the WRC ”, explained Frank Welsch, member of the Board of Directors responsible for Technical Development of the German company.
The truth is that this measure is a direct consequence of the so-called “Dieselgate”, which erupted last year when it was discovered that the brand's diesel cars used software that allowed them to hide the true level of nitrogen oxide emissions.
This incident cost the Wolfsburg house a fine in the United States of about 15.000 million dollars that would be distributed in 10.033 million dollars for the repurchase of the 482.000 faked VW and Audi cars, 2.700 million dollars for the Environmental Protection Agency in compensation for the environmental damage caused and 2.000 million in investment for the development of clean vehicles.
“We are very sorry to leave the WRC as it is the most successful chapter in the history of the brand. We are aware of the great challenges facing the entire company and we want our readjustment to contribute to its success, ”said Sven Smeets, director of Volkswagen Motorsport.
It is worth noting that the sports department will continue its activity preparing cars for different categories under a "customer race" program that will focus on the development of the Golf GTI TCR for the track, the GRC Beetle for Rallycross and a Polo R5 for the Rally, which has just recently will be available in 2018.
In the absence of a test to lower the blind to 2016, Volkswagen has an admirable record with 42 victories in 51 races and 621 victories in special stages. Now it only remains to know what will happen to the team's drivers, the multiple champion Ogier, the Finn Jari-Matti Latvala and the Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen.[sam_pro id = "0_2" codes = "true"]