Walter Röhrl in the Audi Rallye Quattro

Stefan Warter
Rallye Monte Carlo and Audi Quattro
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A ls you are below at the foot of the Turini, Röhrl and his co-founder, Geistdörfer, don't care about anything. The wind sweeps over the pass, as sharp as the long knives that gave the name to this last night, and what lies ahead of them as a special test is what lies behind them umpteen times: dry asphalt, wet asphalt, ice, slush, frozen slush, then Snow up to the summit and down again everything in reverse order.

The Audi Quattro made its debut in Geneva in 1980

Rallye Monte Carlo 1984, first use with the Audi Quattro for Walter Röhrl. He drives 'incorrectly and inadequately' as he says. An assessment that outsiders cannot quite reconcile with his sensational victory - but with his earlier mania for perfection. Driving a Group B car flawlessly here is about as demanding as turning 100 white sheets of paper into a block of graph paper with your free hand. Röhrl would say that he had delivered botch if only the grid square 6,953 on page 37 was slightly warped. If two more squares were crooked, he would scold himself against the biggest fool on the face of the earth.

If you imagine Walter Röhrl from 1984 like that, you understand why he wasn't really happy about the victory back then. Today he can when he is back on the Col de Turini with his Quattro A2. In 1980 the production model made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, revolutionized the world of sports cars with its all-wheel drive, and from 1981 the World Rally Championship. The A2 is an evolution of the Rallye Quattro - with its aluminum cylinder head and Kevlar fenders, it was starved into Group B. Five cylinders, 2,110 cm³, 360 turbo hp, 450 Nm, zero hundred in four, permanent all-wheel drive, rigid through-drive, above the coupé backdrop in HB-yellow-red-white.

'A car has to be so powerful be that you're scared when you walk up to it, 'says Röhrl and grins at the birthday Quattro. Now you could say that the anniversary has nothing to do with the Monte victory, but that would be petty and boring. Because although the time together was not the most successful for both of them, Röhrl and Quattro belong together in our glorified memories like Ernie and Bert.

Röhrl has to learn how to drive again for the Audi Quattro

At the end of 1983, Audi noticed that it was cheaper and nicer to win with Röhrl than continue to lose against him and obliges the double world champion, who will stay until the exit in 1987. So that Quattro and Röhrl can romp together over the Turini again, polite letters circulated between Ingolstadt and Zuffenhausen. The content of these can be imagined as follows: Whether you are Mr. Röhrl - with everyone Considering the fact that he's been a Porsche brand ambassador since 1993 - he's allowed to borrow for the festivities, now that you're practically a big, happy family, asks Ingolstadt. Of course, replies Zuffenhausen, and yes, you are now something like a family .

So Röhrl wears a Porsche overalls when he talks about the Audi. That was the biggest challenge of his career. For him he has to learn how to drive again. The rigid through drive creates enormous traction, but turning in is ma g the coupe not like that. Which on Monte, where the route looks from above, as if a plate of spaghetti has fallen on the floor, can become a burden. Röhrl trains, drives the Audi through Bavarian forests at night, takes tuition from his teammate Stig Blomquist until he thinks he is able to handle left braking and makes the Quattro turn.

'Now I can do it after ten Minutes again, 'he says and invites you to drive by in the Rallye Quattro, which looks fragile and narrow on the outside, and cozy on the inside like a substation. 'It's funny when you have a blocked road and a bit of ice cream,' smiles Röhrl, because it should be very funny.

Röhrl and the Quattro are on the summit

The Audi gently thunders downhill over snow and more than a little ice. Turning point. Röhrl starts his stopwatch. Full throttle. The turbo collects - twenty-two, two-three, the Quattro shoots forward like a puck that a hockey player throws across the ice. Second course, third. Röhrl is faster with his feet on the pedals than any cone player with his fingers.

Hairpin, the orange lamp lights up briefly because the oil pressure drops. Full throttle into the long right. Suddenly the mountain stretches a corner of itself onto the road. That can't go well, something gets stuck - a headlight, a fender, a passenger. The world champion just tugs gently at the wheel, and the Quattro roars further up the pass, over the crest of the Col de Turini plateau. Spin turn. The time: 2.20 minutes, maximum speed 135 km /h. Röhrl and the Quattro are on the summit. Still.


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