July 8th, 2012 will mark the twenty-five year anniversary win of “perhaps” the greatest rally driver of all time—Walter Röhrl. And in recent years, he has been retained as the senior test driver for Porsche road cars
It is the 25th Aniversary of his record winning run up the Hill. This is great news . Walter Rohrl will be part of this years PPIHC.
Cool and collected, Röhrl piloted an Audi sport quattro S1 up the world’s highest highway in record time of 10:47.85 minutes.
Walter Röhrl triumphed at Pikes Peak 25 years ago
* Convincing victory in 1987 in Colorado with Sport quattro S1
* 19.99 kilometres, 156 corners, with over 600 bhp
* Audi won the famous hill-climb race three years running
Of the many rally victories recorded by Audi in the 1980s, the last one was particularly memorable: 25 years ago, on 11 July 1987, Walter Röhrl and his Audi Sport quattro S1 won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in the US state of Colorado.
Walter Röhrl and Audi, the best driver and the most successful rallying team at that time, enjoyed a close and always extremely intensive relationship. Röhrl, the world champion of 1980 and 1982, had joined the Ingolstadt team in 1984 at a time when the brand with the four rings dominated the entire rallying scene.
The permanent four-wheel drive system left the rear-wheel-drive competitor vehicles with no chance whatsoever. A mere two years after first testing the Audi quattro at the end of 1980, Audi had already clinched the manufacturers’ world title. The Finn Hannu Mikkola won the drivers’ world championship in 1983, and in the following year Audi took both titles, with Stig Blomqvist from Sweden topping the drivers’ rankings.
Walter Röhrl was emotional and happy following his victory, and seemed close to tears. He later stated:
“All I can say is that it was great to take part. It was crazy, but often it is in fact the crazy things which are the best in life. It was the very pinnacle of what can be done with a rally car.”
To commemorate this victory, ACNA members will gather at the starting line to watch as racers rev their engines, embracing the mighty challenge as they quest for victory, just as Walter did 25 years ago…..http://forums.quattroworld.com/quattro/msgs/6277.phtml
Stay with the video, for the most part not in English..but great video and music to your ears!
It’s a gathering of like-minded Audi enthusiasts that will share a spirit of adventure as they gather for the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb–Race to the Clouds.
About Walter Röhrl:
Walter Röhrl (born 7 March 1947 in Regensburg) is a German rally and auto racing driver, with victories for Fiat, Opel, Lancia and Audi as well asPorsche, Ford and BMW.
At the age of 16, Röhrl began working for the commercial director of a company that legally represented the Bishop of Regensburg along with 6 further Bishops in Bavaria, and skiied in his spare time. In time he became a qualified ski instructor and a keen driver, and became the chauffer to the commercial director, covering up to 120,000 kilometres annually. Some unqualified reports have stated he was once the Bishop’s own driver, but this has been acknowledged as untrue. Having also now been active in sports like skiing, Röhrl was invited to drive his first rally in 1968.
Röhrl was a World Rally Championship favorite throughout the 1970s and 1980s, winning the Monte Carlo Rally four times with four different marques. His co-driver for many years was Christian Geistdörfer. His Fiat 131 Abarth carried him to the 1980 title, clinched with his victory in that year’s San Remo rally, but it was arguably his equivalent success in 1982 that impressed most of all, with Röhrl fending off audacious four-wheel drive opposition, led by Audi‘s resurgent Michèle Mouton, to take the title, by virtue of consistency, in his increasingly outmoded rear-drive Opel Ascona 400. It was also during this time that he won the African Rally Championship, in 1982.
In 1983, he joined Lancia to pilot the new, rear-wheel drive Lancia 037, before finally changing his machinery, in 1984, to the four-wheel drive Audi Quattro, an automobile actually incidentally produced in his home state of Bavaria.
Despite being selective in his choice of top-level events, albeit during a time when this was a less unusual occurrence for top-line drivers in the championship, he still scored 14 WRC victories in his career.
Röhrl was also successful in road racing events, and called “Genius on Wheels” by Niki Lauda. In the 1992 24 Hours Nürburgring race which saw fog and heavy rain in the night, he hardly slowed down, anticipating the corners by timing. The race was nevertheless interrupted for hours.
Best rally driver of all time
In Italy, a jury selected 100 motor sports experts from around the world named Walter Röhrl as “the best rally driver of all time.”
Here are the standings table from the magazine “Rally-Sprint” (anno numero 3 1/2):
In Italy, he was elected “Rallye driver of the century”. In France he was elected “Rallye driver of the millennium” in November 2000.
In recent years, he has been retained as the senior test driver for Porsche road cars, famously setting quick laptimes for them testing round the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife, for example with the Porsche Carrera GT.
Röhrl was expected to make his competitive return to the Nürburgring 24 hour race in 2010 at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. However, he was forced to withdraw from the event due to a back injury. It was to be his first 24 hour race in 17 years, since his last start in 1993.
- Official: Walter Röhrl and Audi Sport Quattro S1 reuniting for 25th anniversary run up Pikes Peak (autoblog.com)
- Walter Rohrl returns to Pikes Peak – Rally God set to reunite with his Audi Sport quattro S1 on legendary course ( BBC Top Gear http://www.topgear.com ) See more pics of Walter Rohrl’s 1987 Pike’s Peak run
- This year it’ll be different, as it’s the first year where the whole 19.9 kilometre climb is lined with tarmac. Will he be any less sideways? We doubt it.
If you can’t make it to Colorado on July 8th, you can watch Rohrl’s 1987 run below. Once you get past the German bits, there’s some handy footwork, wailing waste-gate chatter, a 2.1-litre five-cylinder engine screaming at 8,000rpm and a long way down if it all goes wrong. You’re going to like it…