Golf GTI shines at opening round of TCR season in Dubai
Liqui Moly Team Engstler made a perfect start to the season with the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR. Drivers Luca Engstler (D), Florian Thoma (CH), Benjamin Leuchter (D) and Jean-Karl Vernay (F) claimed a TCR class victory in the 24-hour race in Dubai which was also the victory in the TCE touring cars category. As at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, the 350-hp-strong Golf GTI finished ahead of all the GT4 cars in Dubai, underlining its reputation as something of a surprise package on the sports car scene.
The Golf GTI TCR, which was prepared perfectly on site and entered by Liqui Moly Team Engstler, overcame the extreme demands of a 24-hour race and ran like clockwork. Starting from third place in the TCR class, the team produced a consistently strong performance and refused to be put off by the large field, with a total of 89 cars. The number 130 Golf GTI TCR had moved up to second place in its class by the halfway point of the race. Franz Engstler’s team had the ideal strategy for the closing stages of the race, pulling clear of the chasing pack and refusing to relinquish the lead.
Engstler and his fellow drivers – reigning TCR International Series champion, Jean-Karl Vernay, the 2017 champion in the TCR class of the VLN Endurance Championship, Benjamin Leuchter, and touring car newcomer Florian Thoma – appear to have formed a successful team right from the word go in 2018.
More information: www.24hseries.com
Autosport International Show
Following the successful international debut of the new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in Mallorca (E) at the start of December, the four-wheel drive rally car for Volkswagen’s customer teams has now made its first public appearance. Motorsport enthusiasts were able to check out the 272-hp Polo GTI R5, which is based on the sixth generation of Polo, at close hand at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham (GB).
The development of the Rally Polo, which has been in full swing since the start of 2017, has incorporated all the experience and know-how acquired by during the successful period in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), in which Volkswagen won four world titles between 2013 and 2016.
Following the first successful tests on asphalt and gravel last November and December, more tests are now planned, in order to be able to deliver the Polo GTI R5 to the first customer sport teams in time for its first rally outings in the second half of this year.
More information: www.autosportinternational.com