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The established order within the rally world of the early 1970s is stunned. During the 1972 Olympia Rally, held in the context of the Munich Summer Olympics, which was loaded later on, an 25 year of talent is making its mark. Walter Röhrl fearlessly drives the big names home with his non-conventional Kleint Capri RS. In the German monster rally from Kiel to Munich, he is even fast on his way to the overall victory. However, engine trouble prevents a sensational victory. But the name "Walter Röhrl" is established.
He booked his first victory with the Czech co-pilot Marecek during the Wiesbaden rally with the Kleint Capri RS. The sympathetic German looks back on his Ford period with a warm feeling. "Then it all started, and Ford gave me the chance to make a permanent entry into the professional rally sport." Röhrl still has warm memories of his Ford time, although he likes to win with the never-driven Ford Escort RS 2000 added his palmares. Nonetheless, “Der Lange” is making a permanent international breakthrough with another brand. With an Ascona A 1.9 SR he becomes - in the service of the Euro Händler Team and together with navigator Jochen Berger - for the first time European champion in 1974, after he was second with the same type of Opel in the service of Irmscher Tuning a year earlier within the European Championship. One of the races won in that champion year is the Tulpenrallye. To this day, Röhrl is full of praise for the qualities and construction of the Ascona A, according to the conversation we had with him on February 5 in Bremen. Up to and including 1976, Röhrl will continue to run its international competitions in Opel. The last year he drives his races in an Opel Kadett GT / E. In 1977, Röhrl will collaborate with Christian Geistdorfer, who remains his navigating companion until the end of Röhrls career.
Life goal achieved
Röhrl then switches to Fiat. With the 131 Abarth (Röhrl: "very nice and uncut rally car") he wins - with navigator Christian Geistdorfer - his first world title in 1980. He also experiences his finest hour during that season. His life's purpose was to win the Monte Carlo rally at least once. He succeeded in the first year that he became world champion. And later he wins "Monte Carlo" three more times. He achieved the four victories in the Monte Carlo Rally in four different brands. In 1981, Röhrl drives a lost season with Porsche, but in 1982 - when Röhrl has returned to Opel - he fulfills another wish. With a German brand he takes his second world title the moment that Audi makes a furore with the quattro and seems completely unassailable. In Côte d'Ivoire, competitor Michèle Mouton drops out with the quattro. Röhrl wins in Africa and immediately claims the world title, partly because he regularly seizes several podium places during that season.
1983: Six rallies, yet second in the World Cup
A year later Röhrl decides to take it slower. He competes in 1983 on behalf of "Martini Racing" with Lancia in six games in the world championship. He takes the podium in all competitions. He also wins his beloved Monte Carlo rally in 1983. Röhrl is second in the World Championship ranking, behind Hannu Mikkola. The Finn needs twelve games to get the world title.
Transfer to Audi quattro
Röhrl also ends up behind the wheel of Audi. From 1984 to 1987, "Der Lange" participated in the WC on behalf of Audi. In 1985 he achieved third place in the overall classification. In his last season, Röhrl is eleventh, but he still drives to a podium place twice. He concludes an impressive career, in which he actually preferred to ride in rear-wheel driven cars. “Quattro and front-wheel drive took over the technical baton in the 1980s. Dann hat sich alles im Rallysport. But that push in the back and the upset of the rear-wheel drivers suited me the best, "Röhrl told us. After his career, Röhrl is still active in various competitions. It will not surprise anyone that the exceptionally sympathetic German is still competing in many races in his final phase. And a winning conclusion.
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