Sunday, 13 May 2012

MERC 1984 In Summary

Limited development continued on our Gulf Air car throughout the 1984 Middle East rally season, but we noticed that Rothmans seemed to have an open-ended budget and their development never stopped.

Abbas Al Moussawi was faster than Saeed Al Hajri on a number of special stages in different rallies in identical cars. He was a very fast and competent driver, but lacked overall experience and development that Saeed had at that time and continued to be given. Perhaps a year or so later, Abbas would have performed much better in our Porsche 911 SC RS.
Rothmans had spent a small fortune of Saeed and his personal training and career development, which paid off as he went on to win the Middle East Rally Championship in successive seasons and major European and International rallies like Paris Dakar.

Looking back with hindsight, we had too few resources for rallying and we should have set out to finance and work on a three years rally programme as an absolute minimum.  At the time I did approach Phillip Morris (Marlborough) prior to signing with Gulf Air, but whilst they considered working with us, they felt the Porsche 911 SC RS was totally unproven and so they decided to stick with Toyota. It was a case of what might have been if they had supported us, as I’m sure we could have worked a lot more closely with David Richards and Prodrive if we had the budget and resources.

However overall we had a lot of fun competing in the Middle East Rally Championship and we certainly did not disgrace ourselves on a very limited budget.

We later restored the Porsche 911 SC RS, chassis number, to road specifications and sold it on to an American in the USA and got our money back. I had an email from Mark Peters, one of our ex-employees out of the blue a few years ago, telling me he was working in the USA and he looks after the Porsche 911 SC RS chassis number WPOZZZ91ES110019 for the owner, all these years later.

Martin Rose our other lead mechanic is now working with Porsche Cars Great Britain headquarters, heading up their mechanical training group in Calcot, Berkshire.

Irene our secretary is living in Houston, Texas and we are all still in touch with each other.

Mike Simon from Gulf Air went on to work for Emirates in Dubai when it only had half a dozen planes and he built the Marketing side of Emirates into what it is today. He retired a few years ago aged 71.

I’ve added some photographs of our Porsche 911 SC RS as it is today in the USA, which Mark Peters sent me, who until recently was looking after this car.

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