Datsuns have taken a one--two victory in the first ever Rothmans Oman international rally. They?
Datsuns have taken a one--two victory in the first ever Rothmans Oman international rally. They came in ahead of two works toyotas after four days of gruelling competition.
SYNOPSIS: Twenty-seven set out from Muscat on Thursday (6 December) on the first of 13-stages which would take them over 15-hundred kilometres (900-miles) of the toughest roads in Oman. Harry Kallstrom and Claes Billstam started favourites in their Datsun 160-J. Kallstrom and Billstam were the 1978 Middle-East Rally champions and they were clearly looking for a victory to boost their points standing in this year's series. The rally course took the cars through country ranging from dried up river beds to mountainous tracks rising above 12-thousand feet (3,600-metres). But there was no stopping Kallstrom an Billstam and they roared through even the most difficult sections.
The main challenge came from their Datsun team mates Shekhar and Yvonne Mehta. They drove hard but couldn't quite manage first place; coming in thirty seconds behind Kallstrom and Billstam Third place went to Leif Asterhag and Bruno Berglund in a works entered toyota coupe. Another Toyota took fourth spot.
Of the 37 starters less than a dozen finished, most pulling out with suspension and drive line problems. One car even lost a wheel. It simply pulled off over the retaining bolts. Punctures and brakes troubles were also common.
Apart from Datsuns and Toyotas the only other cars in the first nine placings were a Lancer and a Peugeot. The Lancer 1600 of Joseph Moussa and Goden Tulley filled sixth position.
But it was Kallstrom and Billstam and took the honours. Their victory means that one again they're leading the Middle East Rally Championship. With two rallies still to go they're on fifteen points ahead of the Mehtas on 13.