Solberg begins VW Polo Supercar test programme
Three-time FIA World Champion Petter Solberg has begun testing the Volkswagen Motorsport built Polo RX Supercar he will race in this year’s World Rallycross Championship.
Solberg shared driving duties with new team mate Johan Kristoffersson at the Loheac test in France this week.
“Yes, we have tried it,” Solberg told Motorsport.com. “Just a small test, you know, to look over and check everything. We will continue to do more testing now in the next few months – we have a good time planned.”
Few details have been released about the cars that Solberg and Kristoffersson will race in World RX this year, following the announcement that Solberg has secured manufacturer backing from the German marque a fortnight ago.
Volkswagen Motorsport is building the cars in Germany and will provide support on events.
Asked by Motorsport.com if the Polos were brand new rallycross cars or using existing platforms from Volkswagen’s stable, Solberg said: “It’s a combination, for sure. I have a lot of confidence and it will be good.”
New engine layout for 2017
The Norwegian star also revealed that the new cars have transversally-mounted engines. Previous Polos raced in World RX by Marklund Motorsport and Kristoffersson Motorsport have used longitudinally-mounted units, similar to Solberg’s double-title winning Citroen DS3.
The transverse engine orientation falls in line with Volkswagen Motorsport’s existing technology, a layout generally preferred by manufacturer-backed teams to be more akin to the road going versions of the car.
“Of course it changes a lot of things you know, but it’s just adaptation of driving style and it [transverse] fits me better,” said Solberg, before referencing his unique setup preferences.
“It will still be soft! We’re working a lot with inertia, weight distribution and centre of gravity, all these things. We will be better than before.”
The full reveal of the Solberg’s Polo and team structure will take place at a press conference in March.
“We have a very good situation here with Volkswagen and Volkswagen Sweden and it will be very exciting to be honest with you.
"All my team who have been working for this are a part of it. They are fantastic, they know the sport very well, and much more people added to the team.
“It will be a hard competition, so we will have to be ready. At the press launch we will tell everybody how the team will work and which people will do things.”
High praise for Kristoffersson
Solberg also praised his new teammate Kristoffersson, who finished second overall in World RX last season.
“Whatever situation I would have been in with any other team (this year), I would have chosen him anyway definitely,” said Solberg.
“He’s fast, he’s fair, he’s professional, he’s fit. A nice guy and has a brain to get out of situations when it’s tough fights. I think we’re a strong team together.
“For sure the teams’ championship is one of the main things, and after that for sure the drivers’ championship is also important, but that will be sorted much later in the season.
“The main thing is to get the stability and try to be more clever than everyone else.”
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