FIVE Of The Most Famous Porsche Rally Cars (By Porsche)
He may be retired, but turns out 72-year-old Porsche ambassador Walter Röhrl still jumps at the chance to take some of the German marque’s most prestigious rally machinery for a spin, as he does in this latest addition of Porsche’s ‘Top 5’ Series. Indeed, rather than simply walking us through the Porsche-selected stage brutes, the two-time World Rally Champion handbrake turns his way from one to the next in this six-minute video.
Fittingly, Röhrl’s weapon of choice is the 911 Paris-Dakar, winner of the notoriously tough event of the same name in 1984 at the hands of René Metge and Dominique Lemoyne. Purpose-built for the event, the dubbed ‘911 4X4’ featured a ‘near-standard’, reduced compression 3.2-litre flat-six (got it right this time commenters!) chucking out 225hp, heavily reinforced suspension and shock absorbers, a hulking 27cm of wheel travel, and a 120-litre fuel tank where once the 911 had a luggage compartment. That was in addition to the 150-litre example bolted behind the driver’s seat.
The 911 Paris-Dakar aka 953 can also legitimately claim to be the first all-wheel 911 courtesy of the AWD system borrowed from the equally legendary 959. We won’t spoil the top five run-down for you, so click play and enjoy.
As for Röhrl, having made his national rallying debut in 1968, his standout years would come first with FIAT, with which he won the 1980 World Rally Championship aboard a 131 Abarth, and later on a one-off return to Opel in 1982, during which his Rothmans-sponsored Ascona 400 secured the German his second world title.
Oddly, before his celebrated tenures aboard the Lancia 037 and Audi Sport Quattro, Röhrl’s only official WRC start with Porsche came at the 1981 Rallye Sanremo, where his ‘Eminence’-entered 911 SC – which may or may not also feature in this list – lost a potential fairy-tale win to a broken axle. Indeed, 1981 was the year Röhrl had signed to drive for Mercedes-Benz before the plug was pulled on the three-pointed star’s rally program, leaving the reigning World Rally Champion out in the cold. Cue a one-year relationship with Porsche, a German Rally Championship campaign aboard a 924, and a class win at Le Mans with the 944 LM on his event debut.
*Images courtesy of Porsche