Volkswagen's new World Rally Car was given its initial test run in Germany.
The Polo R WRC, which will form the basis of the manufacturer's World Championship program starting in 2013, was driven by rally legend Carlos Sainz on asphalt stages close to Trier.
"The first test with the new Polo R WRC is a special moment and marks an important milestone in the preparations for our entry in the WRC," said VW board member Ulrich Hackenberg, who was Sainz's co-driver for the initial runs. "We're well on schedule and are now able to start testing our concepts and developments in reality. The WRC is the top category in rally sport and a great challenge for the team, the drivers and the technology. We're taking on this challenge and will be making efficient use of the time before we start into our first competition."
VW motorsport chief Kris Nissen said that the car tested in Germany is a long way off being a rally-ready machine, and will primarily be used as a test mule onto which mechanical components will be bolted and tested.
"The first Polo represents a preliminary stage of the subsequent rally car and during the upcoming months will serve as a test vehicle for various components such as engines, gearboxes or suspension parts. The findings obtained in these tests will be directly fed into the first thorough-bred Polo R WRC," Nissen said. "Next year we'll be running an extensive testing program on pavement, gravel, mud and snow in order to prepare ourselves for the 2013 season as best we can."