How time flies! Jesse Owens, Berlin, August 9, 1936. Muhammad Ali, Kinshasa, October 30, 1974. Nadia Comăneci, Montreal, July 18, 1976. Boris Becker, Wimbledon, July 7, 1984. Michael Schumacher, Spa, August 29, 2004. The German national soccer team, Belo Horizonte, July 8, 2014. People whose triumphs stand as monuments. And not to be overlooked—Walter Röhrl.
The setting is the Rallye de Portugal from March 4 through March 9, 1980. Arganil, the third stage. Miserable weather. Fog affords visibility of less than fifteen feet, leaving racers flying blind for twenty-six miles. Röhrl, the Bavarian from Regensburg who would become a two-time world champion, says to his codriver,“Geistdörfer, fasten your seatbelt. We’re going to drive so fast and so well, the others will give up their licenses.” And the unimaginable happens: Röhrl leaves the field of elite rally drivers in the dust. His closest competitor, Markku Alén, is four minutes and fifty-nine seconds behind. The third-place finisher is half an hour back.
This is how legends are made in sports. The icon Niki Lauda once called Walter Röhrl a “genius on wheels.” And Röhrl responded frankly to the similarly notoriously undiplomatic Lauda, “What do I care?”
Our Walter—also known as “der Lange” (the tall one)—has been a
There are dozens of stories like that. For this issue of Christophorus, Walter Röhrl selected seven of them from the seven decades of his life—no melancholy retrospective, no embellishment of past accomplishments, no glorification of the extraordinary. Just snapshots of an endearing obsession, paying homage to a character with more than his share of talent and hard work. None of it seems real. But every word of it is true.
And what does Walter Röhrl have in common with tennis great Tracy Austin? Perhaps the shared belief that the pain from a loss is greater than the joy from a win.
Austin, a former world number one, returns to Stuttgart to celebrate a
Austin won a
Wherever you have come from, wherever you are going, our Christophorus will accompany you.
Christophorus ‒ The
Christophorus is the official magazine for
Named after the patron saint of travelers, the magazine provides interesting information about cars and automotive engineering, and offers an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of the company.
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