Volkswagen technical chief Francois-Xavier Demaison says he is “more nervous” about the 2015 iteration of the all-conquering World Rally Championship Polo than its predecessors as expectations are so high.
VW has won 21 of the 25 WRC rallies it has contested since beginning the Polo program, only losing once this season. It has already wrapped up second straight titles for itself and lead driver Sebastien Ogier this year.
Demaison said the new car would be no more than 20 per cent different to the current Polo, but he admitted he felt more pressure for next season’s evolution.
“I am more nervous with the new car,” he said. “When we started with the current car, we did not really have pressure — we had a three-year plan to be champions.
“The idea was to do the first car and then make a second step to improve it, but when we see the results we had with this car… it’s a bit more complicated now! We have to be better or at least as good. It’s really hard for us for next year.”
VW ran the 2015 car, which is scheduled to be homologated for the start of next season, in its pre-Rally GB tests in an effort to make the best possible use of its 42-day testing allocation.
“The drivers would prefer to focus on getting the car ready for the event, but we only have so many days, so we have to do this,” said Demaison. He admitted he had requested a further freeze of current specifications in an attempt to save money for the teams.
Hyundai rejected such a plan due to an incoming all-new i20 WRC.
“Why not freeze it?” said Demaison. “This was my idea. The cars are quite close and we could just make one evolution to allow us to use the paddleshift for the gears and this is easy to fix.
“We don’t normally talk about the budget, but you can imagine it’s a lot when you have to replace the car and the spares package and everything.”