As speculated earlier, Volkswagen has confirmed that it will join the World Rally Championship (WRC) with an announcement on the eve of the Rally d’Italia in Sardinia. Wolfsburg’s entry won’t be for this year, or the next, but in 2013, when they will race the Polo R WRC previewed here.

The Rally Polo will have “near 300 hp” from a 1.6-litre TSI engine and four-wheel drive. As with the TSI motor in the road going Polo, the rally car’s four-cylinder unit will be direct injected and turbocharged.

“The new Technical Regulations of the WRC are an ideal fit for Volkswagen’s philosophy with respect to the development of production vehicles,” said Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Management Board, Development Division. “The timing of the WRC debut is optimal for VW. The big task of engineering a vehicle that is competitive and capable of winning at a large number of challenges holds great appeal for us,” he added.

After winning three consecutive Dakar titles, VW will be hoping to put up a strong challenge in WRC, which has been dominated lately by mass market rivals Citroen and Ford.

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