The rumours of a privateer 2017 VW appearing in this year’s rally championship have been rife for a while, but former VW driver Andreas Mikkelsen is still working on a deal to get himself back into the WRC…
Mikkelsen is currently in the WRC 2 class, having been unable to secure a WRC drive for 2017 as fellow incumbents Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Mari Latvala managed to do so. Mikkelsen dominated WRC 2 in Monte Carlo, finishing 7th overall and winning the class. But he now hopes to get back into a full on WRC car, with the 2017 VW. A Qatar backed squad had attempted to sort out a deal for the car this year but without success. Mikkelsen hopes to do at least three rallies this year starting with Rally Portugal, and it will give us all a chance to see what the VW could have done had the manufacturer not pulled the plug on the championship. Extensive testing was completed on the car and it is ready to go, but there is a slight issue.
“I have done so much testing in the Polo, it is the only car I know how to drive!”
WRC manufacturers held a meeting in Monaco to discuss the late homologation request submitted by VW in order to get the car back onto the world stage. VW had hoped for a quick acceptance from everyone involved but it was not to be, the meetings results being inconclusive. The manufacturers all wanted a better idea of what the plans were for the car, as VW had only really stated they planned to run the car throughout the year with no indication of who was to run it, drive it or sponsor it etc. The other issue being that, although Citroen privately ran the DS 3 WRC’s in 2016 with PH Sport, they had committed to a return to the championship for 2017 onwards. VW are probably not going to come back for some time, if at all.
“We had a similar situation with Citroen last year but Citroen had committed to coming back to the championship. Volkswagen hasn’t done this”
FIA Rally Director Jarmo Mahonen
Hopefully the car can be homologated and ran during 2017. The car would no doubt have been incredibly fast and could well have been the leading car in the field once again. Perhaps it is a relief to everyone that it isn’t on the grid. That is, not yet anyway…