When Rob McEwen was satisfied with the initial preparation, we arranged to undertake some shake down tests on some known Special Stages used on the Bahrain Rally in the past. Chris Walles and the rest of us took sometime off our daily work and had several sessions with the car.
We had deliberated raised the car’s ride height substantially to give maximum ground clearance as a lot of the Middle East Rallies had large rocks which were car breakers. Obviously, the more we raised the suspension, the worse the handling became, but a compromise was found.
It was very quick and after some adjustments to the suspension set up, Rob got it handling nicely as he was a pretty good driver in his own right, so both he and Chris complimented each other view point.
Chris wanted to do some timed stages and after we finished testing, he did several runs and he was quicker on these stages than the previous 1983 official rally times, so that was very encouraging.
We did a deal with the local agent to source all of our rally tyres, which were supplied by Pirelli. We had a range of tyres types and compounds for different conditions, which meant we needed to buy in a selection of additional Porsche forged alloy Fuchs rims in various sizes to mount these tyres on.
We had a challenge finding somewhere to keep the spare wheel for ease of access. I noticed later on that Rothmans put their spare behind the front seats, however, we opted to make the top half of fuel tank smaller and Chris Walles had Gulf Air cut it up and then weld it back into a different shape to accept a narrow 6J x 16 inch front wheel and tyre, like the earlier Porsche 911, prior to space saver days. We only carried a spare front wheel as the rear wheel and tyre was far too large and heavy and it was only to be used in an emergency until the crew made the next service.
The budget was growing every week but it was kept to a manageable level.