Volkswagen Polo (4) Profile

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Volkswagen Polo (4) General Information

In several Opel/Vauxhall stories we report of a team that can't decide if they love or hate rallying. But with their S1600 project it is Volkswagen who must have broken the super duper record for that claim! So far Volkswagen never had a competitive car or they never showed a serious interest in rallying. But in the built up to the Polo S1600 JWRC project you simply couldn't be any more serious than Volkswagen!

Although the eventual S1600 rally car should be the Polo 4, already in 2001 Volkwagen Motorsport UK built a Polo 3 to S1600 kit car standards in preparation for the future car. Even 3 such cars were made, but the most important one to note is H-VM 198. Kosty Katajamäki campaigned the Polo 3 S1600 in a few JWRC events in 2002. But despite the German Hannover reg plate H-VM 198 was a British developed car that started testing already in early 2001, a full two years before the final version was launched.

However in testing their contracted driver Neil Simpson broke his arm virtually as a direct result of the car falling apart. That was virtually Simpson's end of career. Neil Simpson was the development driver of H-VM 198, but after the testing disaster Volkswagen Motorsport UK even managed to get well known British quantity David Higgins on board. Higgins then debuted the Polo S1600 on the Scottish round of the 2001 British Formula Rally series (it was an inaugural BRC season for S1600 cars only before the BRC would return to WRCars). Next Volkswagen made themselves the laughing stock for the media when in a press release they boosted about their amazing 6th place on their debut rally. However a glance at the results lists revealed that only 6 cars finished - proud to be last!

However Volkswagen was getting even more serious. During 2002 the German Volkswagen Motorsport headquarters themsevles transferred the S1600 parts into the new Polo 4 shell, obviously profiting from what has been learned so far. Then they took the car as course opening car to Rallye Deutschland 2002, the first time this event formed part of the WRC. This was a genius master piece to test the car and promote it for potential future customer drivers in one go. And on that course opening car occasion they even had illustrous drivers: Dakar Raid star Jutta Kleinschmidt (navigated by Farbrizia Pons) and multiple German rallye champion Dieter Depping.

In 2003 Volkswagen then entered the JWRC with a 2-car team with undoubted Nordic talents Kosty Katajamäki and Oscar Svedlund. However not even a year into this so unbelievably well prepared program there was a massive U-turn within Volkswagen. Maybe this change of mind was contributed for despite all that preparation the car had reliability issues. Plus it was not up to speed with the S1600 cars of Citroën and Renault, even the Opel Corsa looked faster at times. On the other hand, the Polo S1600 looked like a good weapon against the Suzuki army, but....

Before the Rally San Remo 2003 Volkswagen informed their drivers that they would no longer support S1600 and the JWRC. This move seemed desperately unfair on their drivers, nearly like black mailing. It was an incredible situation, because against original agreement Katajamäki and Svedlund suddenly had to pay everything to Volkswagen if they wanted to start the last 3 JWRC events. They couldn't challenge their contracts either as Volkswagen was quick to point out that by FIA line works support could not be made public as the JWRC is a drivers orientated series. At the same time an FIA JWRC regulation ruled that not starting these events would result in a hefty fine and loss of competition license for the drivers. In the end Svedlund and Katajamäki had no option but to pay up.

Strange political story. This of course was not unnoted by other drivers, who obviously did not want to be treated and potentially have their careers scrapped like that. So no surprise the so well prepared Volkswagen Polo S1600 disappeared virtually within seconds as soon as the season was over.

Volkswagen Polo (4) Related Content

Volkswagen Polo (4) Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Volkswagen Polo (4) S1600 (03-03) 200/8750 210/7000 3897.1799.1465 950 (4.75) FWD (2426)

Random Volkswagen Polo (4) Photos

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Volkswagen Polo (4) Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
15th. 2003 WRC Rally of Turkey K. Katajamäki M. Anttila #54 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
27th. 2003 WRC Acropolis Rally O. Svedlund B. Nilsson #62 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
33rd. 2003 WRC Rally of Finland O. Svedlund B. Nilsson #62 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00

Volkswagen Polo (4) Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 2003 WRC Rally of Great Britain K. Katajamäki J. Laaksonen #54 [UNKNOWN] SS12 steering
Ret. 2003 WRC Rally of Great Britain O. Svedlund B. Nilsson #62 [UNKNOWN] SS16 electrics
Ret. 2003 WRC Rallye Catalunya K. Katajamäki J. Laaksonen #54 [UNKNOWN] SS19 electrics
Ret. 2003 WRC Rallye Catalunya O. Svedlund B. Nilsson #62 [UNKNOWN] SS22 driveshaft
Ret. 2003 WRC Rallye San Remo K. Katajamäki J. Laaksonen #54 [UNKNOWN] SS11 driveshaft
Ret. 2003 WRC Rally of Finland K. Katajamäki J. Laaksonen #54 [UNKNOWN] SS14 crash
Ret. 2003 WRC Acropolis Rally K. Katajamäki M. Anttila #54 [UNKNOWN] SS11 gearbox
Ret. 2003 WRC Rally of Turkey O. Svedlund B. Nilsson #62 [UNKNOWN] SS3 steering
Ret. 2003 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo O. Svedlund B. Nilsson #62 [UNKNOWN] SS14 crash
Ret. 2003 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo K. Katajamäki M. Anttila #54 [UNKNOWN] SS14 disqualified - car not according to homologation
Ret. 2002 WRC Acropolis Rally K. Katajamäki J. Honkanen #69 [UNKNOWN] SS7 ?