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Volkswagen Set To Join GRC Ranks In 2013

Image via Volkswagen Motorsport Facebook

Global Rallycross Championship fans will have another reason to smile in 2013, as Volkswagen has officially announced their intent to campaign the Polo in the third year of the championship.

Jost Capito, VW’s new motorsports director and a key figure in the launch of the Fiesta Mk7 during his time with Ford, was also the force behind the launch of the Polo. He attended X Games in July and enjoyed the intensity of the racing, as well as the prospect of European X Games events at Barcelona and Munich next May and June, respectively.

Meanwhile, VW marketing boss Stefan Moser has praised rallycross as easier for fans to enjoy than stage rally. Unlike the World Rally Championship, where VW will debut a Polo for driver Sebastien Ogier next season, fans are able to watch door-to-door racing and multiple cars on track at the same time.

With their intent firmly established, VW will need to look into establishing a driver and team lineup for their new operation.

Photo credit: Jeremy Tanner

Though Olsbergs MSE is firmly intertwined with Ford, with the pair holding four of the top five spots in the championship, there’s a chance that Capito’s relationship with Olsbergs principal Andreas Eriksson could lead to something. Capito was a key figure in Olsbergs’ development of two Fiestas in the 2009 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, one for Marcus Gronholm and one for Eriksson.

If not Olsbergs, there are plenty of other talented GRC drivers that VW can attempt to lure away from established teams. Though contract details are scarce, it’s imagined that few drivers are locked up to long-term deals, and the chance to be a team’s top driver could be enough reason for somebody to bolt.

Sverre Isachsen, for example, has to be disappointed in his 12th place in points with Subaru, especially after coming off of three consecutive European championships. Meanwhile, a VW ride could be just the opportunity that a privateer like Jimmy Keeney or Pat Moro needs to break into the series full-time.

Image via Marklund Motorsport

VW could also look to Europe for answers. Ingvar Gunnarsson Motorsport has reportedly been developing a Polo SuperCar since April for Marklund Motorsport and Anton Marklund to campaign in the European Rallycross Championship next year. Marklund currently leads the Touring Car division of the ERC with 105 points.

– Chris Leone

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