20 years since Audi Sport quattro S1 wins Pikes Peak

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Walter Röhrl and his Audi Sport quattro S1.

Walter Röhrl and his Audi Sport quattro S1.

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The July 11 marks the 20th anniversary of Walter Röhrl’s victory at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in his Audi Sport quattro S1.

Röhrl, now an official Porsche test driver, was rally world champion in 1980 and 1982 and didn’t join the Audi team until 1984.

Of the many victories that would soon follow, the 1987 win at Colorado’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb was one of the most memorable. Following Audi’s withdrawal from the World Rally Championship in the previous year, the success marked the beginning of quattro technology filtering across the production models.

The S1, which Röhrl took victory in, featured a 2.1-liter five-cylinder engine developing 600 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 435 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm thanks to its Three-K K28 turbocharger. Power was transmitted via a six-speed gearbox, which even then used the dual-clutch principle on a quattro driveline equipped with three locking differentials.

After claiming victory, Röhrl is said to have been close to tears and later commented, “All I can say is that it was great to take part. It was crazy, but often it is in fact the crazy things which are the best in life. It was the very pinnacle of what can be done with a rally car.

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