Three years after it was originally muted, Volkswagen announced at a press conference today in Sardinia that it will enter the World Rally Championship starting in 2013. After three consecutive victories at the Dakar Rally, Volkswagen has set itself a new target – to take on the very best manufacturers in the highest form of rallying – WRC.

Volkswagen Management Board Member Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg unveiled the concept of the Polo R WRC in front of 200 journalists this afternoon, together with Luca de Meo, Head of Marketing of Volkswagen AG, and Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.

Luca de Meo said; “Almost exactly two years ago, in May 2009, the most recent model of the Polo was presented here in Sardinia. Today we are proud to show you the hottest Polo of all time – the Polo R WRC.”

For Kris Nissen and his team the World Rally Championship entry marks a new commitment. “We look forward to this new challenge and are working on this project with the same passion with which we won the Dakar Rally in the past three years,” said Kris Nissen.

By 2013 the Wolfsburg-based car maker will develop a near-300-bhp rally car fitted with a 1.6-litre TSI engine and four-wheel drive based on the Polo. It will take advantage of new technical rules which have come into effect in the WRC this year – where engines must have a maximum displacement of 1,600 cc, direct injection and turbochargers, which VW say fits perfectly with their ideology and the direction they are taking their production cars (namely small capacity, efficient and powerful).