Rally Ace Walter Röhrl Praises Porsche Taycan, Then Turns Around and Trashes EVs Online

This is the same guy who claims wouldn’t have accepted being ‘beaten by a woman driver’ during his WRC days.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED Jul 16, 2019 1:33 AM
Rally Ace Walter Röhrl Praises Porsche Taycan, Then Turns Around and Trashes EVs Online

Porsche hired Group B rally legend and two-time World Rally Champion Walter Röhrl to drive its upcoming electric Taycan sports sedan for a promotional stunt, but the campaign has seemingly backfired with Röhrl taking to his social media to trash electric vehicles afterward.

The Stuttgart-based automaker bragged that Röhrl took off on his test drive of the Porsche Taycan, and wasn't caught by company personnel until Röhrl stopped for a rest.

"It's crazy. In all my years of rallying, I've never experienced such performance," Röhrl said of the Taycan, despite being one of the drivers to revolutionize rally in the Audi Sport Quattro. "The Taycan goes so well at such speed, really tremendous."

"I'm surprised because you barely notice the weight any more," Röhrl continued. "The engineers have done a great job on the tuning and have made excellent use of the low centre of gravity. The steering and even the brakes handle superbly."

"If I had to drive it blindfolded, I would still know immediately that I was sitting in a Porsche. The weight and the feel of the steering—and yes even the brakes, which are far more difficult to get right because of the combination of recuperation and conventional brakes—they're all right on the money. And that's what a Porsche should be all about," Röhrl concluded.

But the German wasn't done talking about the Taycan. On Wednesday, he posted less-than-curated comments on the car to his official Facebook page.

"About one month ago I had the task to carry out a test of our Taycan for our Carrera TV. In the run-up, I had already indicated that I would do an objective test on the driving dynamics and performance of the Taycan, which is not influenced by my absolute rejection. The test showed, as I had expected, that the power, dynamics, handling, in short, the performance of the Taycan—typical Porsche—was absolutely sensational and was passed on to our engineers with great enthusiasm," Röhrl said, reiterating his official comment on the car.

"But this objective assessment does not change my conviction and critical attitude towards e-cars," he cautioned. "In urban traffic, or in people with a second and third car, or those who believe that an electric car is good for the environment, may the e-car be successful, for me it is and will always be a mistake!"

Röhrl has for decades been extremely conservative, as demonstrated once again by his cognitively dissonant rejection of electric vehicles despite enjoying the Taycan. Even back in his prime rallying days, Röhrl was an old-timer, once commenting that he would've hated to have been beaten to the 1982 World Rally Championship by his Audi teammate Michèle Mouton simply because she was a woman.

"I would have accepted second place in the championship to [Hannu] Mikkola, but I can't accept being beaten by Michèle [Mouton]," Röhrl told The Glasgow Herald. "This is not because I doubt her capabilities as a driver, but because she is a woman."

If Röhrl wants to be an old dog who refuses to learn new tricks, it's his loss. Drivers who are more receptive to EVs are having a great time with models like the Jaguar I-Pace, which both The Drive's Mike Guy and Lawrence Ulrich adored.