Monday, November 28, 2011

Qatar Baja Rally

Okay sorry another non MG related post but it is still car related.

Spent the last weekend helping out a friend Ian as spanner monkey on his T1 Nissan Patrol rally car at the Qatar Baja Rally.

It was a trial even getting there due to logistics of getting the car there, getting up to plan Z before plan B came good at the last minute.

Therefore Ian managed to trailer the car from Dubai, across Saudi to Qatar. Shelia (Ian's wife and co-driver) and myself flew in to Qatar, the firs good omen showed when we managed a synchronized arrival passing Ian him in our taxi just 100 yards from rally HQ.

First day was prep / stickers and then scrutiniering, which thankfully the car passed with flying colours, then a couple of hours more tinkering and parked the beast in service park ready for the off.

The first stage, and the only stage on the Friday was a 6km special stage through the dunes, how due to various issues before departure it also meant that this effectively the first drive the car had had since coming out of the garage. Sadly this showed a significant problem with the power steering and the car limping back off stage.

The problem masqueraded as a blown return hose, however after much investigation and changing the hose it looks like the steering box is allowing pressure to pass so the pump return and the reservoir were highly pressurized. We managed to make a temporary fix and get the car into park ferme but alas significantly late.

The following day was the two proper rally stages.
Ian and Sheila set off well and I jumped in the service car with trailer to RV at the service halt between stages just in case. As the road crossed the track a bunch of service crews all waited to watch the cars pass, the order of passing was very strange which nobody could understand ! Anyway Ian went passed fairly early in the pack so fingers crossed going well.

Up to service and pop the hood and power steering hose has gone again ! sorry Ian no more power steering. However car holding up well and Ian's hands aren’t to badly blistered.

It also transpires that the road book is more of a hint than an accurate guide to keep you on the track, this has been causing lots of problems for all the teams so it is going to be a race of penalties !

Off they go for the second stage and I jump in the service car for the long drive back, then .... the radiator blows !

Out beyond the middle of nowhere so I send message to Ian and Sheila and start pulling the radiator, the bottom header is completely cracked so time to get busy with the araldite. Thankfully Ian turned up with a car just as I got is running again, however a few KM up the road it wasn't happy again so up on the trailer for the drive home.

As it was raining we were all very wet, cold and miserable by this time.

Then ..... Shelia calls from the Rally HQ with results . .. . wait for it . . . . FIFTH !!!
Result, Sheila had done an amazing job on the navigating meaning third lowest penalties no mean job given that even professionals were seen joining in circles !

FITFTH overall well done !

Here are a few photos.

The official team blog is here.

And a couple photos from of our other Dubai Friends who also got amazing results.

Dave Mabbs with Team FJ  (with help from a2b)

Mark Powel with Saluki Racing (from Saluki Garages)

Richard B.


  1. Nice one Mr B, so what is the service vehicle?

  2. The service car is "same same only different".
    Its another patrol but with original engine and not the Corvette LS2 V8 that the race car has.
    And its sometimes used as a source of parts, if it wasn't for lack of ball joint splitter it would have lost the steering rack in Qatar !

    Got a ride in the beast as well, WOW, WOW and WOW !

    Richard B.