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RALLY DAKAR CHAMP HIASI WALKNER DRIVES THE CATCHER CAR IN VIENNA ON THE 6TH OF MAY

04/09/18

Rally Dakar Champ Hiasi Walkner drives the Catcher Car in Vienna on the 6th of May

Matthias Walkner is stepping into big footsteps when he rolls up the runners' field from behind as a catcher car driver at the Wings for Life World Run on the 6th of May in Vienna in a brand new BMW X6. But if there is one person that can fill Reini Sampl’s shoes, then it’s the 31-year-old Dakar Rally champ Hiasi Walkner. "During the Dakar rally, Matthias drove 8,000 kilometers through the desert, so I trust him that he will find his way through Vienna on May 6th," jokes Reini. We talked to Matthias about the upcoming challenge.

Not registered for the Wings for Life World Run yet? GET THE APP NOW and run on the 6th of May for those who can’t!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE WINGS FOR LIFE WORLD RUN APP.

 © Mirja Geh for Wings for Life World Run 

EAGER TO START THE WINGS FOR LIFE WORLD RUN ON 6 MAY IN VIENNA?

All starting places in Vienna are already taken, but Destination Red Bull still gives you the chance to run together with Andreas Goldberger as your personal coach in Vienna. CLICK HERE and find out more.

Matthias, what do you associates with the Wings for Life World Run? I have many friends who are paralyzed - including Hannes Kinigadner. I was there when he had the accident. That's why I have a very close relationship with the Kinigadner family, who have brought the Wings for Life Foundation to life, and with the race itself. The least I can do, like everyone else, is to run, no matter how.

Matthias drove 8,000 kilometers through the desert, so I trust him that he will find his way around Vienna on the 6th of May - Reini Sampl, Safety Catcher Car driver in Vienna

© Mirja Geh für Wings for Life World Run

What made you decide to be a Catcher Car driver at the Wings for Life World Run in Vienna? Unfortunately I cannot run anymore as I used to do. I could, but the following days my knees would be very sore and in a lot of pain. So racing in the Wings for Life World Run is no longer an option. But I still wanted to be part of the run so I decided to use the opportunity and drive the Catcher Car in Vienna in 2018!

As a Catcher Car rider you follow in the footsteps of Reini Sampl – How do you know Reini? I met Reini Sampl years ago at the ice rink in Lungau, where he is working as an instructor. I use the rink twice a year to practice drifting. We are both obsessed with motorsport and get on really well.

The emotions you feel as a catcher car driver when you pass two-thirds of all participants in the first two hours are unique. An unforgettable experience that you will remember for a long time! - Reini Sampl, Safety Catcher Car driver in Vienna

 

© Mirja Geh for Wings for Life World Run 

What tips did Reini give you? He hasn’t given me many yet. The only thing he told me, and what has troubled me since, is that in the six or so hours that the race is likely to take, there's not a single chance to use the loo! You just have to deal with it and it can be a real challenge. Apart from that, he said, I can look forward to one thing above all else: a fantastic atmosphere. 

At the start you are allowed to drive 15 km/h for one hour, then you can increase your speed hourly – what are the pitfalls of this task for you? Thanks to Reini, all Catcher Cars have cruise controls since 2016. These can be used from 15 km/h and are a great support. However, you pass tens of thousands of runners in the city centre during the first few hours of the race. You have to be extremely focused. For me as a racing driver, it is also a challenge to enjoy the slow speeds over such a long distance ... for me personally, 80 km/h on the Salzburg motorway is a pain (laughs).

For the second third of the race, where the race follows the Donau, we as Catcher Car drivers have plenty of time so Matthias and I take our radios with us to talk to each other and enjoy the time. - Reini Sampl, Safety Catcher Car driver in Vienna

© Mirja Geh für Wings for Life World Run

How do you pass the time during the 6-hour race? I don’t think I have to worry about that. The driving alone during the first hours will keep me busy. In addition, the occasion and atmosphere are so unique, that most of the time I will just be super thrilled - by the people, the spirit, and the common goal, for which everyone fights with great euphoria. I don’t need any other distraction!

What are you looking forward to the most? Apart from the atmosphere at the start and during the race, I am especially looking forward to the moment when I will overtake my buddy Marcel Hirscher. That’s going to be cool! Maybe I'll push him on the last few yards (laughs)...

© Mirja Geh für Wings for Life World Run

FANCY BEING A PASSENGER IN MATTHIAS WALKNER’S CATCHER CAR ON THE 6th OF MAY?

Send an e-mail with the subject "Wings for Life World Run" and your first and surname to gewinnspiel@kronenzeitung.at Deadline is the 11th of April 2018 (midnight).

The winners will be chosen from a random draw of received entries and then notified in person. All communication regarding this competition will be handled by the Kronen Zeitung.

Here are the Catcher Car speeds for the race at the 6th of May at a glance: 

  • 11.00 UTC - RACE START
  • 11.30 UTC - CATCHER CAR START - SPEED: 15 km/h
  • 12.30 UTC - TEMPO INCREASES TO: 16 km/h
  • 13.30 UTC - TEMPO INCREASES TO: 17 km/h
  • 14.30 UTC - TEMPO INCREASES TO: 20 km/h
  • 16.30 UTC - TEMPO INCREASES TO: 35 km/h, remains constant until the last runner has been passed by the Catcher Car.

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