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110 years of the Austrian Alpine Rally: Laurin & Klement celebrate success in the most challenging rally of their time

The team from Mladá Boleslav sent three “Market Touring Cars Laurin & Klement à 20 hp 95 x 130” to the start line – vehicles similar to series-production models with a 20 hp (14.7 kW) engine, whose cylinder had a bore of 95 millimetres and a piston stroke of 130 millimetres. Count Sascha managed to finish the Alpenfahrt without incurring a single penalty point. The other two Laurin & Klements, driven by the Croatian Count Paul Drašković and L&K’s chief designer Otto Hieronimus, also reached the finish line. The young car manufacturer had thus won the coveted team classification and took the co-deciding five-kilometre special stage at the gates of Vienna with a fantastic average speed of 104.985 km/h.

A sports commissioner from the Austrian Automobile Club was responsible for ensuring that everything went according to plan in each car, important components and engines retained their official seals, and at the finishes of the stages, all vehicles were parked in a locked, guarded area. Nevertheless, all five Laurin & Klement cars reached the end of the 1911 Alpenfahrt without penalty points.

In 1912 Hieronimus again took first place, and the factory team, which also included Kolowrat and Drašković, again did not receive a single penalty point. Laurin & Klement sent production cars to the race as usual, while Rolls-Royce, for example, put their faith in the six-cylinder Silver Ghost, which had a special four-speed gearbox with a shorter overall ratio: the year before the English team was forced to skip the steep climbs. Hieronimus once again won the silver shield; he and Count Sascha made it through without penalty points.

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Jun 25, 2020 at 17:45

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