Sun 29 Oct 2023

ERC @ 70: Great German highlights

The FIA World Rally Championship-counting Central European Rally concluded in Germany today (Sunday). As part of a series of features celebrating the FIA European Rally Championship’s 70th anniversary, here are 10 German ERC highlights.

History maker: Helmut Polensky will go down in history as the first ERC champion, a feat he achieved back in 1953. A title winner with Fiat and Porsche power, Polensky also rallied a Lancia during his triumphant campaign.

Multitasker: Walter Schülter, ERC champion in 1954, wasn’t just good at driving, he also had what it took to be a successful co-driver.   

Double champion: Not only did Walter Schock win the 1956 title, who also claimed the crown in 1960, becoming the only German to win the European Rally Championship twice.

Also a double champion: While Walter Schock was the only German to win two outright ERC titles, Marijan Griebel (pictured above) did something no other driver has done in ERC history by winning the Junior ERC title at Rally2 and Rally4 level during an impressive European championship stint, which totalled 31 starts.  

Not just a champion: Wins in Turkey and Bulgaria helped to make Armin Kremer the European champion in 2001 in a Toyota Corolla WRC, which was prepared and maintained by Jürgen Griebel, father of Marijan. Indeed, Kremer would become the younger Griebel’s sponsor in later years, while also continuing to compete, albeit at world championship level.  

Also a champion: Five years prior to Armin Kremer’s ERC success, Armin Schwarz (pictured below) was the driver to beat in the European championship, capturing the top prize in 1996, four years after Erwin Weber completed the 1992 season on top.

Early champions: Other German ERC champions included Walter Schlüter (1954), Werner Engel (1955) and Ruprecht Hopfen (1957), Hans-Joachim Walter (1961) and Eugen Böhringer (1962).  

Future champion: Timo Schulz marked himself out as future store with two wins in this season’s Hankook-equipped FIA Junior ERC Championship.  

German power: Oliver Solberg’s victory behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia in July was proof that the German influence in the ERC remains as strong today as it was in 1953.  

Germany’s greatest? Prior to taking the WRC by storm, Walter Röhrl claimed the 1974 ERC title along with 19 event wins.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM