Last weekend’s Volkswagen Rally around Port Elizabeth saw the introduction of a new category that could have a massive impact on local dirt road racing.
Volkswagen are now building Polo Cup rally cars for customers, much like they have been doing for many years in circuit racing’s VW Cup category.The Rally Cup cars are based on their circuit racing brothers. The biggest difference is the powerplant – a bog standard 1600cc Volkswagen Polo unit hooked up to a five-speedgearbox.
According to VW Motorsport boss Mike Rowe, the Rally Cup Polo conforms with current S1600 rally regulations. The cars will run in that class until there are more than 10 of them at which point they will start scoring points in their own class.
“The idea is to give youngsters on their way up from karting a viable way to go rallying,” he Rowe said. “Once the kids have found their feet in the Rally Cup car, the vehicle can be easily upgraded to pukka S1600 specifications.”
To ensure parity VW Motorsport will build all the cars in-house and do all upgrades themselves. The Rally Cup cars will cost R250 000 – not bad considering that a Ford Fiesta S1600 costs over R600 000.
The initial Rally Cup car made its debut on the Volkswagen Rally manned by youngsters AQC Potgieter and Tommy du Toit. It ran trouble free and they finished 30th out of 42 starters.