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?"
I was kind of surprised, as I had never been confronted with that direct but simple question before. "The only recommendation I can give you is to save a lot of money and try to do a course at Walter Lechner's racing school at Salzburgring," I suggested. Then the two guys introduced themselves as Gerald Lachmayr and Roland Ratzenberger, both from the city of Salzburg.