Volkswagen has confirmed that it will not be able to supply customer teams with its 2017-spec car that had been due to race in the FIA World Rally Championship this year.
As part of the VW Group’s review of its motorsport interests, the Volkswagen factory rally program was closed at the end of 2016 after winning four successive championships.
A version of its Polo car had been developed for the 2017 season, with a number of private teams expressing an interest in racing with it if permitted.
However, Volkswagen confirmed earlier this week that talks with the FIA regarding a waiver for the homologation process had not come to a fruitful end.
“Following customer enquiries, Volkswagen Motorsport asked the FIA for a waiver of the homologation of the 2017 Volkswagen Polo World Rally Car, with the purpose being to rent it out to private drivers and teams,” Volkswagen motorsport director Sven Smeets said.
“It now turns out that this is not possible under the current WRC regulations. We fully accept the result, but at the same time regret it in the interests of our customers. We would like to thank the FIA for the very constructive discussions.”
Although the 2017-spec Polo won’t appear in the WRC this year, it is possible that the car could be modified and raced next season, should privateer interest remain.
The closure of VW’s rally program displaced a number of big-name drivers, including four-time world champion Sebastien Ogier, who linked up with the M-Sport Ford team for the 2017 season.