The fourth Qatar motor rally which finished on Friday (October 27) was won by Harry Kallstrom from Sweden driving a Japanese Datsun 160J.
The fourth Qatar motor rally which finished on Friday (October 27) was won by Harry Kallstrom from Sweden driving a Japanese Datsun 160J. Following the Cyprus Rally which finished at the beginning of October, the Qatar Rally is the second leg in the Middle East Rally Challenge. The third and fourth legs take place in Dubai and Bahrain with the climax of the competition coming in Kuwait in March 1979.
SYNOPSIS: The final winner Harry Kallstrom in car number one got off to a good start in the first Special Stage. His Datsun team mate, Shekar Mehta, driving car number two was a formidable opponent and together they dominated the rally. Car number four driven by the locally based Mike Foss, overall winner of the Middle East event last year, was among the 27 competitors.
Women drivers have a good record in the event and car 11, a Bahrain entry driven by Jan Brewer and Aileen Hamilton performed well during the special stage. They went on to finish seventh overall and win the Ladies' Prize.
At 700 kilometres (435 miles) this year's course was nearly twice as long as in 1977 and by the beginning of the second day, only 16 of the 27 competitors remained. The Datsun of Shekar Mehta was first away and with team-mate Harry Kallstrom laying in second position, the company's decision to make an all-out effort in the even looked like paying dividends as the cars set off round the north and west coast of Qatar.
The route took cars over some of the toughest terrain of the rally - boulder-strewn desert tracks alternating with fast stretches over hardbaked salt flats. The two Datsuns continued to dominate with all the experience of their world-class drivers needed to counter the sustained challenge of the eventual third, Mike Foss.
After leading almost to the end, Shekar Mehta followed team orders and slowed down to allow Swede Harry Kallstrom to take the honours as the Rally ended in Datsun taking first and second place.