Happy Birthday, Manfred Stohl!

A happy belated birthday to my favorite affable Austrian (not that I know any other Austrians). Haven’t done a birthday tribute in quite a while, but let’s see if the rust wears off.

Reasons to love Manfred:

He’s a very steady driver who’s almost sure to finish a rally. In 2006, he only had one DNF, and none thus far in 2007. And he really squeezed out great performances from the same Peugeot 307 that cursed Marcus the year earlier.

So 2007 hasn’t seen much speed from Manfred in his Xsara. Citroen swears it’s the same machine that Seb had last year, but Manfred has been very vocal about its noncompetitiveness. He’s ambitious and aims for the best, even after 110+ WRC starts. He doesn’t enter a rally to finish 10th, if he can help it.

I say this every time, but I love his name. Man. Fred. Truly fantastic.

Manfred’s the only WRC regular to have a female codriver, Ilka Minor.

He’s so genuine, friendly and good-natured. His face has a smile built in it.

The infamous leetle cow incident. Aww…

He rides a unicycle!

Listening to his TV interviews with his thick accent. It’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s, but much happier (that’s not a stereotype–after all, Arnold’s my Governator!)

He’s the WRC’s true privateer. Keepin’ it real.

All righty then. This may be the end of the list of Manfred’s virtues, but not the end of our appreciation. Best wishes to Manfred and his young family!

Manfred sharing his unicycle skills    Manfred’s always smiling

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July 12, 2007. Appreciation, Citroen, Peugeot, Rally, Rallying, WRC.

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