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Volkswagen officially confirmed that they are withdrawing from the World Rally Championship in a statement to the media on November 2.

In their anxiously awaited official confirmation, Volkswagen’s Member of Board for Management of Technical Development, Frank Welsch, stated that the company will develop a new Polo according to R5 regulations.  

The statement added that this car will be based on the next generation Polo and that they will offer the car to customers to buy from 2018 onwards.  

In the wake of the decision elsewhere in the corporation to end Audi’s WEC programme because of the expensive rivalry with Porsche, the announcement of entry into R5 raises questions about the future of the Skoda Fabia R5 project, although the mention of the word “customers” is significant.  

In the four years since the Polo R WRC programme started, there has been no customer participation.   

Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets, said: “From now on, the focus is on upcoming technologies in motorsport and on our customer sports range, where we will position ourselves more broadly and attractively.”   

There is no information about what upcoming technology involves.
- Martin Holmes  

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