WAL­TER RÖHRL

GER­MAN RALLY LEG­END

Classic Ford - - MOTORSPORT -

Wal­ter Röhrl was des­tined to be a skier and ski in­struc­tor, un­til a friend no­ticed his amaz­ing car con­trol while on a trip through the Bavar­ian For­est Alps, and en­cour­aged him to go rac­ing. One of his first drives in 1967 was in a lowly Fiat 850, but he proved in that car that power wasn’t al­ways nec­es­sary in ral­ly­ing when you had im­mense driv­ing skills.

Work­ing his way up through the ranks dur­ing the late ’60s and early ’70s, it was the 1972 Olympic rally where his tal­ents were first brought to a wider au­di­ence and from then on, the works drives were on of­fer.

Join­ing up with Chris­tian Geist­dör­fer as co-driver in the mid-’70s was the next key in­gre­di­ent in Wal­ter’s story and from 1977 to 1987 the pair won many World Rally Cham­pi­onship events in­clud­ing the ti­tle in 1980 and 1982, and the ex­treme Monte Carlo Rally four times.

In 1987, Röhrl was the first to drive Pike’s Peak hill­climb in less than 11 min­utes and Nikki Lauda called him a ‘ge­nius on wheels’ when he drove a foggy Le Mans 24 Hour race by tim­ing the cor­ners in his head rather than by vi­sion.

Through­out his ca­reer Wal­ter drove BMWs, Fi­ats, Audi Qu­at­tros and even the Lan­cia 037 in the mad­ness of the Group B era, but it was in this Capri that he re­ally shot to fame on just one rally in 1972.

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