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The greatest German GP driver before Schumacher

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The greatest German GP driver before Schumacher
Feb 9, 2018, 12:40 PM

Bernd Rosemeyer, who was killed 80 years ago this week in a record attempt, was a supernatural talent behind the wheel. These are the moments that made him a legend. By Paul Fearnley

1935 Eifelrennen, Nurburgring

Rudolf Caracciola, acknowledged master of the circuit and of changeable conditions, had been caught unawares. But how could he have known? For this was a bolt from the blue – and the grey. In a single lap – the seventh of 11 – of the world's most challenging track, of which he had no racing experience be it on bikes or in cars, Bernd Rosemeyer had gained 46 seconds.

No matter that his Auto Union was shy two of its 16 cylinders, or that he had lost his skull cap to the unsettling eddies created by a broken aero-screen that had also allowed a stone to smash his goggles, or that the intermittent rain was now at its heaviest, the newcomer in only his second car race was his team's only hope, his more experienced teammates having pitted regularly in search of a cure for the misfire caused by changes in weather and altitude, and which Rosemeyer was ignoring.

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Series Formula 1
Article type Special feature