With the first round of the Indian Rally Championship a little less than a month away, there is rather disappointing news for rally fans. Volkswagen Motorsport India, who were all set to enter the 2014 Indian Rally Championship with a factory team, has now made the decision not to do so.
Volkswagen Motorsport India will not enter a factory team in the 2014 Indian Rally Championship
Speaking to OVERDRIVE, Sirish Vissa, head of Volkswagen Motorsport India said that the decision not to enter the 2014 championship was due to the lack of competitors in the form of factory teams from other OEMs. We were going to compete as a factory team provided we had competition from other OEMs, which we don't have this year," Vissa said. One of the other OEMs that was expected to take part in the 2014 Indian Rally Championship was Toyota, but their rally plans have been put on hold. We have no competition and will be up against only privateers, which isn't what we want," Visa continued.
Of course, given that the 2014 championship is now the Indian Rally Championship, where all competitors are allowed to compete for the overall win, it still means that there is one other OEM on board in the form of Mahindra Adventure who bring their SuperXUVs to the rallies. Well, for us it is better to showcase our cars as beating other cars as opposed to beating SUVs," Vissa declared.
However, if it is any relief, Vissa did confirm that Volkswagen Motorsport India would continue to support and supply privateers with rally cars as a part of their Customer Sport Programme. We will provide our support, technical know how, spares at all rallies," Vissa declared. He also confirmed that the R2-spec Polo, which has been homologated for rallying in India, will be available to customers. The only question at this point is affordability - given that the FIA regulations stipulate that all R2 spec cars must be made available at a cost of Euro 15,540 or Rs 12.6 lakh, it's unlikely that we'll see a slew of privateers opting for this particular machine.
When asked whether another factory team entering the Indian Rally Championship midway through the 2014 season would motivate Volkswagen Motorsport India to bring in their own factory team as well, Vissa replied in the affirmative. We definitely will, if we have the competition."