Watch: VW’s RX Team Explains its Front Mounted Cooling System

Rallycross is a dirty sport. Literally. Mud, rain, stones, and even tire gunk pelting the front of a car mean that the accepted wisdom in the sport is that cooling systems must be mounted in the back. Unless you’re VW.

PSRX Volkswagen Sweden, racing in the European FIA World Rallycross Championship, this year decided to run their radiator where you might expect to find it in any other Polo: up front.

The team has been extremely secretive about this, but rallycross commentator Andrew Cole went to the VW garage, such as it is, to speak to the team’s project manager, Fabrice van Ertvelde to find out why they decided to ignore 40 years of rallycross dogma.

Turns out Volkswagen’s reason for doing it was really simple. It just simplified the set up. It works better with the cooler up front, says van Ertvelde, thanks to a lack of tubing and the missing coolers out back and the team is confident that they can keep the radiators clean.

Just how the team has managed to keep mud and grime from blocking the coolers, van Ertvelde isn’t saying. That said, he’s confident that the testing shows that even in the rain, the system works well.

And it has worked well. After two rallycross events this season, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden leads the team standings, though its drivers, Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson, are still behind Audi’s Mattias Ekstrom in the drivers’ standings.

They’ll look to take Ekstrom’s lead away, though, when they head to Germany on May 5 for the third round of the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship.