Sunday, 6 May 2012

Round 1 - Qatar Rally 26/27 January 1984

We all flew over to the first rally in Qatar, whilst Gulf Air flew the car, our tools and parts for us. We were based in Doha for the entire week before the rally, whilst Chris & Gordon sorted out the pace notes and practiced in our Porsche 911SC RS.
The event was well supported and we based ourselves at the Porsche dealer Darwish, who we knew from our daily Porsche business and they looked after us very well.
During the rally a serious problem came to light very quickly, which was the retaining bolts Porsche supplied in the rear suspension were totally inadequate. They were coming loose because they stretched due to the enormous stress they were under or just snapped and fell out. We had a very limited supply of these bolts, which were checked, tightened or replaced at every opportunity.
As the rally progressed the rear suspension aluminium trailing arms began to crack and parts broke off and coupled with the bolts we had to retire.
After discussing this amongst ourselves and then together again with Dave Richards over dinner, it was obvious we both had a major technical problem to deal with. I remembered that in the early Porsche 911 rally cars that I had worked on, and also on the East African Safari cars, these arms were made of steel and therefore they could probably flex or bend. The new aluminium ones could not flex being cast aluminium, so they just fractured and pieces broke off.
Rothmans had a lot more spares then us and it showed they replaced all the bolts and kept Saeed Al Hajri’s car going to take the win.

Round 1 - Qatar 26/27 Jan
Driver/Co Driver
Al Hajri / Spiller
Porsche 911 SC RS
4h 23m 51s
Sulayem / Daniels
Opel Manta 400
4h 29m 16s
Saleh / Samia
Toyota Celica
4h 43m 03s

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