How Ratzenberger earned his tragically brief F1 shot

How Ratzenberger earned his tragically brief F1 shot

Wherever in the world the hard-working and diligent Roland Ratzenberger's career took him, he was always quick to update Austrian journalist Gerhard Kuntschik on his progress. Gerhard shares his memories of Ratzenberger's life, and the impact of his loss

It was a freezing cold December evening in 1980 in the Austrian ski resort of Saalbach-Hinterglemm. Local hero Sepp Haider and his neighbour Walter Rohrl were, together with multiple Austrian rally champion Franz Wittmann, the frontrunners of the Ice and Snow Rally, a national winter event.

I was waiting for the cars to come back to the service point near the Zwolferkogel cablecar station when two young lads approached me. "Are you the journalist of Salzburger Nachrichten?" they asked. "Yes," I replied. "We need your help. We are high school students, but we want to become racing drivers. How do we manage this?"

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