Walter Röhrl is a double world rally champion who is acknowledged as one of the greatest drivers to sit in a rally car.
Röhrl took his two titles in quick succession in the early Eighties (1980 and 1982), in the middle of a 15-year career at the top of the sport.
The German’s introduction to driving came in the unlikely company of the Bishop of Regensburg, who employed him as a driver when he was just 16. After trying other sports including skiing, he took part in his first rally in 1968.
Röhrl made his WRC debut at Monte Carlo in 1973 and he went on to take victories at the principality for four different marques. He then struck gold when he won the WRC title in 1980 in a Fiat 131 Abarth.
His 1982 success was even more impressive, fending off four-wheeled opposition in his dated rear-wheel-drive Opel Ascona 400. His main challenger was Audi’s Michèle Mouton – co-founder of The Race Of Champions – who missed out after a technical failure in the last rally.
After that he drove for the likes of Lancia and Audi as well as competing in road racing events. He has also tested cars for Porsche, with whom Röhrl was scheduled to make his competitive return to the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2010 – aged 63 – before a back injury forced him out.
Röhrl was the runner-up in The Race of Champions in front of his home crowd at the Nürburgring in 1989 before winning the ‘Classic Masters’ event in 1997.
- 2-time World Rally Champion (1980, 1982)
14 WRC victories, 31 podiums
2000: Elected ‘Rally Driver of the Millennium’ in France
1987: Makes last WRC appearance at the Acropolis Rally
1985: Final WRC victory at the San Remo Rally
1982: Wins the African Rally Championship
1982: Becomes World Rally Champion for a second time
1980: First World Rally Championship title
1975: Takes first WRC victory at the Acropolis Rally
1973: First WRC rally in Monte Carlo
The Race of Champions Highlights
- Years contested: 1988, 1989, 1996, 1997, 1999 & 2002
1997: Won ROC Classic Masters event
1989: Reaches The Race of Champions Grand Final