John Stone will debut his new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 on the next round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, the PokerStars Rally.
The Polo GTI R5, which replaces his ex-Mikko Hirvonen Ford Fiesta WRC, has only done six rallies from new and has been driven by the likes of Marty McCormack (winning the 2019 Cork 20 International Rally), Alastair Fisher (winning the 2020 Galway International Rally) and by Josh Moffett on the 2019 Donegal Harvest Rally.
The Legend Fires-backed Polo GTI has to be converted back into asphalt spec in time for the Isle of Man event – which means that, in such a short space of time, John’s first time driving it might come on the event shakedown stage.
“I’ve been impressed with R5 cars for a while – they’re something different and they certainly look fast enough,” says John.
“There was an opportunity the sell the Fiesta WRC and buy the Polo GTI. Things like that don’t happen very often, so when all things aligned I took the plunge.
“I always like a car to have a good winning history, because they tend to carry on that way – and the Polo has a very good history indeed.
“We’ll continue to prepare the car in-house, next to where we make our gas and electric fires.
“There might be a small opportunity to test the car before I travel to the Isle of Man, but it’s likely that the first time I’ll get to drive the Polo will be on the PokerStars shakedown stage. And then my first competitive stage in it will be in the dark, which will be interesting!
“The key to the PokerStars will be to get to the finish and learn as much about the Polo as possible. It’s a new challenge and I’m very much looking forward to it.”
The PokerStars Rally is the double-header round of the Protyre MSUK Asphalt Rally Championship, with full championship points awarded at the end of day one (Round 3, Friday 1 October) and day two (Round 4, Saturday 2 October).
John has been seeded at car number seven and will be co-driven by Tom Woodburn.