Lack of VW involvement not stopping Polo development

Wevers Sport is continuing to develop the GTI R5

Georg Linnamäe

When Volkswagen Motorsport officially disbanded in 2020, the future of the Polo GTI R5 looked uncertain.

Even if Volkswagen made clear that spare parts would continue to be available, and in June 2021 it chose Dutch firm Wevers Sport to become the official supplier, the rate of development in Rally2 meant that an obvious question lingered.

How long will the Polo remain competitive?

This season is perhaps the first where the VW is becoming rarer to find, at least on World Rally Championship entry lists. Including next week’s Rally Croatia, there’s been an average of one Polo R5 per WRC round in 2023 and while more popular last year, the Polo’s last WRC2 win (Teemu Suninen in Finland) was now 18 months ago.

With the Ford Fiesta Rally2 undergoing a significant upgrade recently, the Citroën C3 Rally2 set to benefit from the same treatment and of course Škoda raising the level once more with its Fabia RS Rally2, the Volkswagen’s glory days look to be over.

Well, apparently not.

Many of us assumed the Polo would be left standing still once VW Motorsport closed its doors – and to be fair it’s testament to how good the car is that it stayed competitive for years since.

Teemu Suninen

But Wevers Sport boss Erik Wevers told DirtFish that it actually has the capacity to develop the Polo, and that process is ongoing.

“We are still looking at some things and to upgrade it, and we can homologate parts and everything,” Wevers told DirtFish.

“At the moment it’s quite fast but we’re still having some things to be done engine-wise and suspension-wise, so we keep on doing that.”

Although no new cars can be built, Wevers said upgrading it isn’t difficult because most of the parts Volkswagen originally used to make the car were from third-party suppliers.

“We took over it all, but there were no surprises at all because 80% of their suppliers [are the same as ours] because they did not manufacture anything themselves,” Wevers said.

“They did the engineering and ordering of the parts and then put the parts together in the car. We’re still doing the same things.

“We have one guy who is only doing the purchasing and only buying parts all day.”

The Polo, therefore, is set to get even quicker. But Wevers isn’t surprised that it’s still as quick as it is today.

“The engine is very close to the Škoda one and also to the new Skoda one,” he said, “so there’s not a lot because the regulation is quite the same in terms of restrictor, gearbox.

“The difference from the results will be made in driving.”

Words:Luke Barry