Most of us probably don't take much of an interest in German politics. Truth be told, if asked to name living German politicians most of us would run out of names long before we exhausted the fingers of one hand. But I'd like to make an excpetion for Angela Merkel, current chancellor of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, and an unlikely hero for petrolheads the world over.

She deserves to be celebrated for the fact she has just said an emphatic "nein" to the growing pressure within Germany to impose a national speed limit on environmental grounds, insisting that it won't happen on her watch. You can read all about it here:

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/10/28/europe/EU-GEN-Germany-Speed-Limit.php

Why does this matter? Because the limit-free bits of Germany's autobahn network are all that stand between us and the increasingly vocal demand of various EU high-up-niks to impose mandatory speed limiting across Europe. The autobahn is also the only reason that manufacturers spend tens of millions of their pounds, Euros and dollars on engineering cars that can operate safely at above 100 mph. Remove the derestricted autobahn, the last significant bit of limit-free road anywhere in the world, and the performance car as we know it could meet an untimely end.

So thank you, Frau Merkel. We owe you one.