Walter Röhrl is a residing legend on the planet of rallying. Whereas he’s most well-known for his exploits behind the wheel of the Lancia 037, and the 1983 WRC Constructors title towards the might of Audi, only a few know that he briefly drove for Porsche. As such, the German Automaker stunned him for his 74th birthday with the race-winning 924 Carrera GTS Rally that he campaigned in 1981.
“This automobile opened the door to Porsche for me,” mentioned Röhrl. “For me, it’s a journey again in time. I instantly really feel 40 years youthful.”
Earlier than his standout season with Lancia, Röhrl raced with Porsche for only one season in 1981. Early mechanical gremlins held them again throughout their first rally, however the automobile was nonetheless fast sufficient to complete second within the general standings. Röhrl and co-driver Christian Geistdörfer would go on to win 4 rallies that yr – together with a victory on the grueling Serengeti Safari Rally.
The race automobile was constructed on the underpinnings of the 924 GTS, which occurred to be the most costly automobile within the Carrera lineup in 1981 – setting prospects again a mere 110,000 marks ($68,637) at present change charges. Nonetheless, the rally automobile was truly constructed from one of many 9 pre-production prototypes of the 924, that means that its 2.0-liter four-cylinder by no means had a manufacturing facility serial quantity.
Fortunately, within the care of the Porsche Museum, the automobile was stored in nice situation. Even after sitting dormant for 40 years, a fast inspection revealed that the engine and KKK 26 turbocharger have been able to go. Regardless of just a few points with a worn-out gas provide system and chassis elements, the restoration went easily, with only some elements needing an overhaul.
As turbo engines have been nonetheless comparatively new on the time, Porsche wasn’t certain if the automobile can be aggressive in such a longtime subject. Nonetheless, because of Röhrl’s expertise and willpower, the package deal was a powerful success. After an excellent season with the German automaker, he departed to Opel in 1982 and received the World Rally Championship.