A bizarre accident in 1952 will probably for ever be associated with his name: during the Carrera Panamericana, the world’s fastest road race, a vulture flew into Karl Kling’s windscreen as he was driving along at full speed. Kling reacted brilliantly to the situation. The next day, he and his co-driver, Hans Klenk, set off with thin metal bars in front of the windscreen, finally going on to victory in the chase along desert tracks and through Mexican villages. A racing triumph that was to make Kling a national hero in post-war Germany.
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Speaking from the Federal Chancellery at the Palais Schaumburg in Bonn, the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, stated: “This victory opens the door for our exports.” Already 42 years of age, Kling had waited a long time for his triumph. In 1954/55, the man from Giessen contested a further 11 successful races for Mercedes-Benz before, in 1956, he succeeded the legendary Alfred Neubauer as coordinator of racing and rallying activities.