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The annual GTI festival at Lake Wörthersee in Austria has exploded over the years into a celebration of all things hot-hatch in the Volkswagen Group – including concept cars and new debuts from Audi, Seat and Skoda – but the event has always been about VWs at heart. And the brand central to the empire isn't about to sit it out.

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We may have to wait a while for Volkswagen to release a Polo R – in fact it may never reach American showrooms at all – but as a stopgap measure VW has released a pair of R-Line packages for its diminutive hatchback that at least make it look the part.

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Volkswagen announced earlier this year that it would be entering the World Rally Championship starting in 2013 with the Polo R, and we got our first glimpse of the race car here in Frankfurt. While it's easy to see the similarities to the road version, the Polo R WRC has been transformed into an all-out rally car with widened fenders, a fully stripped and caged interior, and plenty of carbon fiber on the body. Under the hood is a race-prepped version of Volkswagen's 1.6-liter STI engine producin

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2011 Volkswagen Polo GTI – Click above for high-res image gallery

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