Dirty dancing with the Rally Polo

The Volkswagen Polo, with all its engine and trim variants, comes across as a smart and ergonomically sound premium quality hatchback. Sure, some might cringe at its dearth of comfort features compared to a few of its rivals, but it’s still a comfortable car that even retired folks will have no problem driving.

So, what do you get when you strip the Polo of all its creature comforts, the rear bench, the suspension, even the insulation, and slap on a roll-cage, couple of bucket seats with five-point seat belts, competition brakes, Reiger 3-way adjustable rally suspension with springs, limited slip differential (LSD), and of course, a VW 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with a BMC cold air intake under the hood? A rally-spec Polo is what!

This is one of the Indian National Rally Championship’s (INRC) finest race cars, and at a stone quarry off the Pune-Solapur highway, I’m getting a bit of a crash course on how to ride the beast. The Polo you see here is one of six competition VW rally Polos that are owned by the Pune-based team, Slideways Industries – who just happen to be the winners of the 2013 INRC team championship title. If you’ve not been following the rally series organised by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), here’s the bit of background.