Exactly 30 years after almost pulling off what would have been one of the greatest WRC victories of all time, Walter Rohrl, his co-driver Christian Geistdoerfer and their Porsche 911 SC will come together again for this year's Targa Tasmania rally.
Rohrl's one-off drive in the 911 SC in the 1981 San Remo Rally is regarded by aficionados as one of the greatest drives in the history of the sport. Rohrl and Geistdoerfer were simply not meant to win in their rear-drive 911 SC against the more powerful crop of all-wheel drive cars of the era. On twisty, tricky and slippery roads the combination though were within sight of scoring an against-all-odds victory over Michele Mouton in her Audi Quattro before a broken driveshaft forced retirement.
“That (1981 San Remo) rally is one of the most memorable for me, for sure,” said Rohrl, who will be making his third competitive appearance in Targa Tasmania following outings in 1997 and 2000.
“We were not supposed to be competitive in the San Remo because the stages were very difficult and the all-wheel drive Audi had much better grip and more power than our (Porsche) 911 SC.
“But we pushed and pushed and pushed - and finally something broke on the car on the final tarmac stages when I thought we were going to win the rally.”
“We only entered that 911 SC in one rally, the San Remo. It was a last-minute thing. Some engineers at Porsche helped prepare this car for me because I was without a drive,” added Rohrl, who won the WRC drivers' title twice in 1980 and 1982.
“Then more than 25 years later Porsche informs me this fabulous car has been found in somebody's garage.
“It has been restored and now we will bring it to Targa (Tasmania) in what will be a very special reunion. I am so looking forward to it.”
This year's Targa Tasmania will be the 20th anniversary of the “lap of Tassie” rally. It starts with a Prologue near Launceston on April 5 and finishes in Hobart on April 10.