Walter Röhrl

Rohrl_Walter

Personal information
Nationality Germany German
Born 7 March 1947
Regensburg, Germany
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1973~1987
Teams Porsche, Fiat, Opel, Lancia, Audi
Rallies 75
Championships 2 (1980, 1982)
Rally wins 14
Podiums 31
Stage wins 420
Total points 494
First rally 1973 Monte Carlo Rally
First win 1975 Acropolis Rally
Last win 1985 San Remo Rally
Last rally 1987 Acropolis Rally

INTRODUCTION

Walter Röhrl (born March 7th 1947 in Regensburg) is a German rally, racing, and test driver, with victories for Fiat, Opel, Lancia and Audi as well as Porsche, Ford and BMW. He is regarded as one of the most multi-talented racing/rally drivers of all time; boasting top level performances on all kinds of surfaces and many different types of auto racing. Röhrl was called “Genius on Wheels” by F1 driver Niki Lauda after the 1992 24 Hours Nürburgring race which saw fog and heavy rain in the night, as he hardly slowed down, anticipating the corners by timing. In 2000, Röhrl received many honorific awards; in Italy he was voted by a jury of 100 worldwide motorsport experts as “Best rally driver of the century”, and in France he was elected “Rally driver of the millennium”.

GROUP B RESULTS

(# = finish position / R = retired or DNF / = did not compete)

Y TEAM EVENT PTS
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Brazil
BR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
82 Opel 1 3 R 2 4 2 3 2 3 1 131
Y Team Event pts
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Argentina
AR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
83 Lancia 1 3 2 1 1 2 102
84 Audi 1 6 R R R R 26
85 Audi 2 R R R 3 1 R 59
86 Audi 4 R United States
US-
86 pts 10

BIO (~1987)

Career

Röhrl grew up as the youngest of three children of a stonemason in Regensburg. His parents separated when Walter Röhrl was ten years old. From then on he lived with his mother. After leaving school he completed a commercial education at Bishop’s Ordinariate of Regensburg. 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 other Bishops in Bavaria. In time, he accumulated much experience behind the wheel since he became the personal chauffeur to the commercial director, covering up to 120,000 kms (75,000 miles) annually. He also skied in his spare and became a qualified ski instructor. Röhrl was invited to drive in 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 manufacturers. For 1977~1987, his navigator was fellow German Christian Geistdörfer. His Fiat 131 Abarth carried him to the 1980 title, clinched with his victory in that year’s San Remo rally.

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 to take the title, by virtue of consistency, in his increasingly outdated rear wheel drive Opel Ascona 400. In the same year, he also won the African Rally Championship. Shortly after winning the title, Röhrl was fired from the Opel team by manager Tony Fall due to many disagreements between the two; Röhrl did not want to compete in the RAC rally in which he had little success in the past, and he refused to participate in publicity activities for the team sponsor, tobacco company Rothmans. Röhrl was a strict nonsmoker and simply refused to do any filming for Rothmans publicity spots, claiming that he had been hired as a driver, not as an actor, and that he could not see any sense in making tobacco marketing as a nonsmoker anyway.

In 1983, he was signed by Lancia to pilot the new rear wheel drive Lancia Rallye 037. Although he managed 3 victories and 3 other podiums, he finished 2nd in the driver’s championship behind rival Hannu Mikkola. However, his good performances led to Lancia capturing the manufacturer’s championship.

In 1984, it seemed natural for him to join fellow German team Audi to drive the increasingly quick four-wheel drive Audi quattro, an automobile incidentally produced in his home state of Bavaria. Although he had a disastrous season with 4 retirements, his win in Monte Carlo helped secure the manufacturer’s championship for Audi.

In 1985, another set of 4 retirements plagued Röhrl’s season once more, albeit he managed 3 podiums to finish 3rd in the driver’s championship. For the following year, Röhrl was set for a better season with a newly improved Sport quattro S1 E2 which showed much promise. However, due to a spectator incident in Portugal involving a Ford RS200 which resulted in multiple deaths, Audi withdrew from Group B competition for the remainder of the season. Besides this, Röhrl is tied with Timo Salonen for the most rally wins (7) of the era (1982~1986).

In 1987, Röhrl led Audi’s WRC Group A effort until the team decided to abandon rallying entirely to focus on road circuit racing instead. He was the perfect choice to spearhead Audi’s new ambitions due to his wide range of talents and ability to relate to the engineers critical information to help improve the cars. That same year, he also set up a new record in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb being the first driver to cover the 14.42 miles (19.99 km)-long mountain track to the peak in less than 11 minutes in a specially prepared Audi Sport quattro S1. It took him only 10:47.850 minutes to reach Pikes Peak on the road which at that time was mainly covered with gravel.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_R%C3%B6hrl


spell checked, translated, and modified (additions or abridged), by Jay Auger – website owner & author


PHOTOS & VIDEOS

rohrl2 Rally Montecarlo Monte Carlo (MC) 22-29 01 1983 rohrl


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