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Spain - 25-28 Oct 18

Posted: October 11, 2018 10:44 AM - 1329 Hits

Round 12 - 2018 World Rally Championship

Entry List

Posted: October 10, 2018 1:17 PM

Petter back to the World Rally Championship with Volkswagen

Posted: September 20, 2018 3:36 PM

Petter Solberg will return to the World Rally Championship to drive Volkswagen Motorsport’s Polo GTI R5 at Rally de España next month.

The Norwegian, who won the WRC title in 2003, will join the factory Volkswagen Motorsport team alongside Eric Camilli (FRA) for its one-off outing at the Salou-based event from October 25-28.

Petter, who first tested the Polo GTI R5 in Sweden at the start of the season, will test the car ahead of his rally return.

Since departing the World Rally Championship, Petter has focused his efforts on the World Rallycross Championship, where he won two more FIA world titles (2014/15). For the last two years, Petter’s own team – PSRX Volkswagen Sweden – has worked closely with Volkswagen Motorsport; the squad’s Polo R Supercars are prepared ahead of each World RX round in Hannover.

Petter said: “I think everybody knows about my passion for rallying and when Sven [Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport director] asked me if I would like to do Spain in the Polo, I jumped at the chance.

“When I drove the car in January, I didn’t want to stop. Everything about the Polo GTI R5 worked from the very beginning. To be in the car for the very first time is a real privilege for me – I’m very happy that Volkswagen trusted this job to me and to Eric [Camilli].”

Norway’s Veronica Engan will co-drive Petter, having worked alongside him at his January test of the Polo GTI R5. Veronica is well acquainted with the Solberg family –she’s normally found co-driving Petter’s son Oliver.

Petter’s illustrious WRC career spanned 14 years and 188 starts. He won 13 of those events, scored 54 podiums and collected 457 stage wins and 852 points.

Beyond the numbers, Petter remains one of the sport’s most popular drivers and going back to Salou is bound to bring a range of emotions.

“This is the place where I did my last event before I decided to switch to rallycross,” said Solberg. “It will be fantastic to be back, especially with this car and team. The chance to drive Volkswagen’s Polo GTI R5 on gravel and asphalt in the WRC’s only mixed-surface event is a challenge I can’t wait to start. I have seen what Volkswagen Motorsport does from the inside in World RX and it’s going to be a real pleasure to work with them in rallying.

“As well as that, it will be great to see some old friends and fans again. Spain was always one of the events I really loved, the passion and atmosphere there is just fantastic.”

Being a natural competitor, Petter will have an eye on the times at an event where he finished second overall in 2010.

“I know how good the Polo GTI R5 is,” said Petter, “and I think people know I’m not just going there to drive around. It’s an honour to join the team for this event and I will go there to do my best and push as hard as I can.”

Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets said: “Petter is a true rally hero. We have already experienced his passion and professionalism working alongside him in World Rallycross. To give everything, always 110 per cent is Petter’s trademark.

“He tested the Polo GTI R5 and, from the beginning, it was our dream to have him in the car to give this new customer rally car its debut. It’s fantastic that he joins us in Spain to drive the Polo R5; I’m sure everybody is looking forward to seeing him back again – and our new car.

“For sure, everybody in Volkswagen Motorsport is excited to be working on a rally and on this special event with Petter and our second driver Eric Camilli.”

Rally de España startswith a spectacular opening stage in Barcelona before moving into day one’s dirt stages in the Tarragona hills. For the weekend, it’s all about the racetrack-smooth roads inland from the service park at Salou’s popular holiday park PortAventura.

Petter will face 18 stages on a 1,496 kilometres (929 miles), of which 331km (205 miles) are competitive.

From testing to competition: Eric Camilli at the wheel of the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 for rally debut

Posted: September 12, 2018 6:00 AM

The first driver duo has been confirmed for the debut of the GTI R5 – Volkswagen will compete at the Rally Spain (25th–28th October) with Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (F/F). The 200 kW (272 PS) 4x4 will celebrate its rally debut at the only FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) race to take place on asphalt as well as gravel. This is the sole works appearance scheduled for the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, before it begins to participate in domestic and international championships for customers.

When deciding on the driver line-up for the first of two cockpits for the Rally Spain, Volkswagen chose to rely on familiar resources. The Camilli/Veillas duo played a significant role in the development of the rally car, based on the new Polo, and the two drivers are held in high esteem by the four-time world championship-winning team thanks to their detailed feedback and analytical approach. Camilli/Veillas are no unknown quantity in the WRC 2 category, where the Polo GTI R5 will be competing in Spain: they were runners-up in the 2017 world championship with three podium finishes, including victory at the Rally Germany. In total, Camilli/Veillas have chalked up 31 stage wins in this category.

“Eric Camilli and Benjamin Veillas are an experienced team and did a valuable job during testing with the Polo GTI R5,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “It is the logical next step for them to take their WRC 2 experience into this competitive debut. Having Eric and Ben in the cockpit puts us in an excellent position.” The driver/co-driver line-up for the second Polo GTI R5 will be announced at a later date.

Eric Camilli: “When Sven Smeets and R5 project lead Jan de Jongh gave me the good news, it was a lovely, belated birthday present. I was delighted and am proud to be part of the team at this important premiere. After an intensive year of testing, it is great to be competing in the first rally with the Polo GTI R5 and I have plenty of motivation to do well. Ben and I will prepare diligently for the Rally Spain and hopefully we will be able to start the R5 Polo on its career path with a good result.”

Eric Camilli and the Polo – a long history

The intensive testing and the upcoming debut with the Polo GTI R5 do not represent Eric Camilli's first meeting with the compact car. The Volkswagen Polo played an important role in the private life of the 31-year-old from an early stage. “My second car was a Polo. A used 2005 Polo IV Trendline with 64 PS, in silver,” explains Camilli. “Volkswagens are such reliable cars. And I like the design.” Camilli/Veillas drove around one third of the approx. 10,000 test kilometres with the Polo GTI R5. “The Polo GTI R5 has an impressive history and reacts very precisely when you are driving. I think that it is a very good R5 car – but we will only know for certain after the Rally Spain and the first head-to-head comparison with the very strong competition.”

Benjamin Veillas – return to the four-time world championship-winning team

The Rally Spain marks the return of co-driver Benjamin Veillas to the four-time world championship-winning team from Volkswagen. In the WRC era, the 40-year-old Frenchman was part of the spotter and weather crew for world champion Sébastien Ogier. Veillas has formed a team with Camilli since the Rally France on Corsica in 2014, celebrating six podiums in the WRC 2 category and one best stage time in the WRC top category thus far.

After the works debut: eight customer teams will receive 15 Polo GTI R5s

Customers, over to you: the competitive debut at the Rally Spain will be the first and only competitive appearance for the Polo GTI R5 before delivery of the customer sport racer begins at the Volkswagen Motorsport location in Hanover, from November onwards. In 2018/2019, 15 cars will be handed over to eight customer teams, who are planning to compete in numerous international and domestic rally championships according to R5 regulations.

Career in fast-forward – that’s Eric Camilli
Date/place of birth: 06 September 1987 in Nice (F)
Hobbies: Sport, especially running and trials

Career Highlights
2017: 2nd place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2), 1 win
2016: 11th place in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2014: 2nd place Volant Peugeot, 1 win
WRC 2 Successes: 17 rallies, six podiums (including one win), 31 stage wins, 144 championship points

Rally Guide / Event Website

Posted: August 31, 2018 8:40 AM

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