Hermann Gassner Sr
- June 08, 1959
- Fia World Rally Championship
Hermann Gassner is a German rally veteran, born in 1959, who is still active in national and regional rally competitions. During a career which lasts for almost 40 years, Gassner recorded almost 500 rally starts and collected eight national championship titles and six titles in the Mitropa Rally Cup. Most recently, he was Mitropa Cup champion in 2015 and ADAC Rallye Masters champion in 2016.
In the World Rally Championship, Gassner recorded 24 starts, making a debut in 1995. Between 1995 and 2001, he collected nine starts in five different WRC events. Since 2002, he's a regular entrant in the German WRC round, recording fifteen starts at ADAC Rally Deutschland until 2017.
For most of his career, Hermann Gassner was driving Mitsubishi cars and today his company Gassner Rallisports is an official Mitsubishi Rallisport's agency in Germany. He's also an owner of Gassner Motorsport team, in which his son Hermann Gassner Jr. (born 1988) is one the main driver.
Starting a career in an Opel Kadett GT/E
Born in June 1959, Hermann Gassner started his rally career in 1979. His first notable appearance was at Rallye Munchen – Wien – Budapest in October 1980, in which he was driving an Opel Kadett GT/E.
He continued to drive in national rally events with different Opel cars in following years, using Kadett, Ascona or Manta. In the early years of his career, his navigator was his brother Sebastian Gassner. Hermann's most notable success in that period was the third place in Mitropa Cup in 1985.
Four seasons in a Mitsubishi Starion Turbo
In 1987, Gassner made a switch to Mitsubishi Starion Turbo, participating in selected events of the European Rally Championship. He stayed in that car for three more years, driving mostly in German national events or German rounds of the European Rally Championship.
In November 1990, he traveled to India to participated in the Himalayan Rally, a part of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. He finished seventh in a Mitsubishi Starion Turbo.
New car and new navigator in 1991
In 1991, Gassner changed both a car and a navigator. He started to compete in a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 with Siegfried Schrankl as his new co-driver. Gassner remained focused on the German rally events in 1991, then visiting one international event in 1992 (Rajd Polski).
In 1993, he expanded his schedule to six rounds of the European Rally Championship but without notable results. In 1994, he switched to Mitsubishi Lancer Evo II and finished third in German Rally Championship (DRM).
1995 – WRC debut and maiden DRM title in the same year
The season 1995 was a milestone year for Hermann Gassner. That year, he made a WRC debut and captured his first DRM championship title. He participated in three WRC events in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo II, scoring PWRC points in all three events (Monte-Carlo, Portugal, Corsica) to finish 14th in final Production WRC classification.
In the German Rally Championship, he scored no wins but collected most points to take the championship title ahead of Armin Holz. Gassner's navigator in 1995 was still Siegfried Schrankl, with Harald Brock as a replacement in a couple of rallies.
Six seasons with Proton rally cars
In 1996, Gassner started a season driving a Mitsubishi Lancer at Rallye Monte-Carlo (DNF) and Swedish Rally (11st N4 class), then switched to Proton Wira, a Malaysian version of Mitsubishi Lancer. He was driving a Proton Wira 4WD in one more WRC event (Sanremo, DNF) and in the European and German championships. He was German vice-champion, behind Armin Kremer.
In 1997, still driving a Proton Wira, Gassner finished third in German championship and participated in two WRC events, finishing fourth in PWRC class at Rallye Monte-Carlo and sixth at Rallye Sanremo. In 1998 and 1999, Gassner had no WRC starts, finishing third in German championship in both seasons.
In 1999, his rally car was a Proton Pert. He returned to WRC in 2000, finishing ninth inPWRC class at Rallye Monte-Carlo. That year, he was third in the German championship and second in Mitropa Cup. In 2001, Gassner finally won the new championship title, conquering the Mitropa Cup with four wins, combining Proton Pert, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, and Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evo VI.
Starting a partnership with Karin Thannhäuser in 2000
While driving a Proton Pert for Proton Kathrein Rallye Team in 2000, Gassner was using services of different navigators, Karin Thannhäuser was among them, starting a partnership which still stands today.
In the following years, Gassner was combining Karin Thannhäuser and Siegfried Schrankl as navigators, occasionally having some other co-drivers, but Karin became his main partner in the recent years.
Regular entrant of the German WRC round since 2002
In 2002, Gassner recorded his first participation in the ADAC Rallye Deutschland as the WRC round, becoming the regular competitor in that rally and participating in the German WRC event fifteen times until 2017.
He was N4 class winner and 13th overall at 2002 ADAC Rallye Deutschland, sharing the #114 Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evo VII with his brother Sebastian as a navigator. It remained his best results at Rallye Deutschland in all fifteen attempts. He was N4 class winner two more times, in 2005 and 2006, finishing 18th and 21st overall respectively.
Six championship titles between 2003 and 2008
Gassner captured his next championship title in 2003, winning in the German Rally Championship in a Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evo VII. That year, he was second in Mitropa Cup. He was without championship titles for the next two years, then triumphing in ADAC Rally Masters in 2006 at the wheel of Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII.
He was a double champion in 2007 and 2008, triumphing in the Mitropa Cup and DRM (German Rally Championship), both years in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.
Double champion again in 2013 and 2015
Gassner's championship-winning streak was interrupted in 2009 but then, in 2010, he was a champion again in the Mitropa Cup, winning five rallies with Karin Thannhäuser as his navigator. In 2011, Gassner was a vice-champion both in the Mitropa Cup and DRM.
He was back on the top in 2013, winning both Mitropa Cup and ADAC Rally Masters, using a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X and older Lancer Evo VIII. In 2014, Gassner was a vice-champion both in the Mitropa Cup and ADAC Rally Masters, then returning to the top in both competitions in 2015 after scoring twelve victories over the year.
Last championship title in 2016
Hermann Gassner has won his last championship title (at least so far) in the 2016 ADAC Rallye Masters, winning six rallies in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII. He was second in the Mitropa Cup, using a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X R4 but also Hyundai i20 R5 in one rally. After many years exclusively in Mitsubishi rally cars, Gassner competed in a Hyundai at ADAC 3-Städte-Rallye, finishing in the tenth place.
In 2017, he was Mitropa Cup vice-champion again, driving only Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X R4. In 2018, Gassner continues with Mitropa Cup commitments.