Petter Solberg’s Volkswagen-backed World Rallycross team will field a third Polo GTi Supercar in the penultimate round of the series at the Estering in October, for Volkswagen test driver Dieter Depping. The 51-year old German, who has won the German Rally Championship three times and also competed on the Dakar Rally, will join PSRX’s regular drivers Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson for his rallycross debut at his home event.
“When [Motorsport Director] Sven Smeets asked me if I could envisage starting at my home race in Buxtehude, I didn’t need to think about it for long,” said Depping. “I’m really looking forward to the races at the Estering, but I also have a huge amount of respect for them – particularly the start.”
Depping also has experience of circuit racing, driving in the Nurburgring 24-hour race in 2010. In his role as Volkswagen’s test driver since 2001, Depping played a pivotal role in the development of the Polo R WRC (from 2011), the car which formed the basis of the Polo GTi Supercar for 2017.
“I will prepare well for the races and am already looking forward to the great setting at the Estering. My thanks also go to Petter Solberg’s team, who are taking me and my Polo under their wing for this competition,” he said.
The Polo GTi has been the car to beat in World RX this season, and has been undefeated in the series since the fourth round in Belgium.
With four wins to his credit, Kristoffersson currently leads his teammate by 35 points in the drivers’ championship, while the squad leads the teams’ standings by over 100 points.
“Dieter has done a valuable job for Volkswagen as a test driver and racing driver for many years now,” said Smeets. “He was part of the Dakar team, was involved in the development of countless racing cars and, last but not least, played a major role in Volkswagen bringing home a total of twelve world championship titles with the Polo R WRC.
“The start in Buxtehude is a way of thanking Dieter for his fantastic work, but we are also delighted to have a local hero lining up at the rallycross highlight in Lower Saxony.”
Last year, Mattias Ekstrom claimed the World RX drivers’ title at the Estering. If Kristoffersson maintains his margin at the head of the order after September’s events in France and Latvia, he too could be crowed World Champion at the historic rallycross venue