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Texaco Challenge - Donington 1978


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#1 Hieronymus

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 06:53

On 1/2 November 1978 a race meeting was held at Donington. I think it was called the Texaco Rally and Circuit Challenge. In this event the drivers first had to compete in a circuit (Donington) race and the following day there was a Rally competition for the same drivers.

The cars used for the circuit race were Ford Fiestas, while Lancia Stratos cars were used for the Rally challenge - I maybe wrong, though. I think that one or two F1 drivers of the time, also competed.

Does anyone have more details of these events, with regards to results, names of drivers competing, etc., etc? Maybe AUTOSPORT magazine covered a report of this challenge.

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#2 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 07:57

It was the Texaco Rallysprint, organised by Nick Brittan and held at Donington.

The Grand Prix drivers were John Watson, Jody Scheckter, Alan Jones, Patrick Tambay and Patrick Depailler.

The rally drivers were Andy Dawson, Russell Brookes, Brian Nelson, Bjorn Waldegard and Ari Vatanen.

Saturday's race was in "identical" Ford Fiestas.

1. John Watson, 17m 31.8s
2. Andy Dawson, 17m 42.0s
3. Alan Jones, 17m 42.1s
4. Russel Brookes, 17m 44.1s
5. Brian Nelson, 17m 44.8s
6. Patrick Depailler, 17m 45.6s
7. Patrick Tambay, 17m 47.2s
8. Jody Scheckter, 17m 48.1s
9. Bjorn Waldegard, 17m 48.6s

Brookes pushed Vatanen off the track. The Finn's car was a battered wreck after rolling.

Watson drove a Triumph TR7 V8.
Tambay drove Willie Rutherford's twin rotor Mazda hatchback (323)
Scheckter had Brookes' Escort RS1800
Depailler had the Chequered Flag Lancia Startos
Jones drove Vatanen's Sutton-prepared Escort


Watson - 93.0s
Tambay - 94.3s - 94.2s
Vatanen - 91.7s - 90.0s
Depailler - 92.3s - 91.0s
Waldegard - 91.0s
Scheckter - 90.3s - 90.0s
Nelson (Porsche) - 95.5s
Jones - 95.8s
Dawson (Stratos)- 91.3s - 90.8s
Brookes - 91.4s - 89.5s

Unfortunately the Motoring News report doesn't give all the second run times but it does state that everyone except Jones and Waldegard improved their time.

Points

Dawson - 66
Brookes - 62
Watson - 56
Scheckter - 50

Saab had originally agreed to supply a fleet of turbos for the race but pulled out following Ronnie Peterson's death. Brittan personally purchased the Fiestas which were auctioned off after the race. All were sold, even Vatanen's battered car which went for 1530 pounds.

#3 Hieronymus

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 09:47

Milan, thanks a million!!

Somewhere I have a photo of Depailler driving the Lancia Stratos in this event. Did not know that so many other GP and well known Rally drivers also competed.

What was the logic behind this event - charity or just a so-called "fun" event? The fact that Nick Brittan was involved is also interesting. Probably the reason why both Scheckter and Depailler were competing. Was Nick not a manager for both these drivers, at one stage of their careers?

Can one conclude that Brittan entered the Fiesta cars for the circuit race or who was credited as the entrant (surely not Ford or Texaco)?

A final question - anyone. The points awarded. Was that the final result of the two competitions combined or was the points only applicable for the Rally challenge?

#4 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 10:21

The points were awarded for both events.

The points after the circuit race were

Watson - 40
Dawson - 36
Jones - 32
Brookes - 28
Nelson - 24
Depailler - 20
Tambay - 16
Scheckter - 12
Waldegard - 8
Vatanen - 1

A comment about Scheckter's result in the circuit race.

The South African driver, fresh from a stint in the Tour of Italy at the wheel of a Fiat Ritmo, ran short of brakes during the ten lap thrash and spent much of the time leaning on Tambay's bootlid in order to slow down. Jody was using the T-car - and the brakes hadn't been properly bedded in!

#5 BRG

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 10:24

Originally posted by Hieronymus
What was the logic behind this event - charity or just a so-called "fun" event?

There were several of these events - at least one more at Donington (IIRC using Rover SD1 rally cars?) and an earlier one or more at Brands Hatch. They were end of season events designed mainly for TV - predecessors of the current Race of Champions, I suppose. Although fun events, the nature of the competitors meant that they were fiercely contested.

#6 fines

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 19:00

I remember this event very well - it was featured in the very first racing magazine I ever bought: sport auto 12/78! :) And I also recall there were several similar events in later years, sometimes even with winter sports involved! Always lots of fun... :D


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#7 Alan Lewis

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 21:42

Yes, I remember these too. The Beeb Beeb Ceeb used to show them on Grandstand.

Am I right in thinking that Damon Hill won one year, ages before the world and his dog had heard of him? Someone must know...

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#8 Ian McKean

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 23:26

Yes I saw Damon Hill racing with Stig Blomqvist in Toyota MR3's (I think - the mid-engined one, anyway) at Brands Hatch. Blomqvist was taking the whole of Paddock Hill bend on virtually full opposite lock. This surprised me at the time, because people used to say that the reason he was quicker than Eklund in the Saab 96's was because he kept it a big straighter. It was reported that at the end of a stage the reading on Blomqvist's Halda was usually less than on Eklund's.

#9 Hieronymus

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 07:05

Originally posted by fines
I remember this event very well - it was featured in the very first racing magazine I ever bought: sport auto 12/78!

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Fines, do you perhaps still have this magazine and report? If so, does it give more details, other than what Milan Fistonic has already kindly contributed. Information like race number on cars is also of interest to me, especially with regards to Depailler.

I do have a photo of Depailler in the Lancia Stratos (tried to post it here, but was just again reminded that I am an computer idiot). The number on Depailler's car one can't read on the photo.

#10 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 07:40

I've got the Motoring News and the Autosport reports and neither has a photo of Depailler in the Stratos. There is one of Dawson in the car and it is number 9.

Depailler is quoted as saying he found the Stratos "enjoyable but difficult."

Other car numbers shown are

Watson, TR8, 6
Scheckter, Escort, 8
Tambay, Mazda, 5

These are the results as printed in Autosport.

Special Stage 1

1. Scheckter, 1m 30.3s
2. Walsegard, 1m 31.0s
3. Dawson, 1m 31.3s
4. Brookes, 1m 31.4s
5. Vataneb, 1m 31.7s
6. Depailler, 1m 32.3s
7. Watson, 1m 33.0s
8. Tambay, 1m 34.9s
9. Nelson, 1m 35.5s
10. Jones, 1m 35.8s


Special Stage 2

1. Brookes, 1m 29.5s
2. Scheckter, 1m 30.0s
3. Vatanen, 1m 30.0s
4. Dawson, 1m 30.8s
5. Depailler, 1m 31.0s
6. Waldegard, 1m 32.5s
7. Watson, 1m 32.6s
8. Tambay, 1m 1m 34.2s
9. Nelson, 1m 35.0s
10. Jones, 1m 36.7s

Overall positions

1. Dawson, 66 points
2. Brookes, 62
3. Watson, 56
4. Scheckter, 50
5. Depailler, 42
6. Tambay & Waldrgard, 36
8. Nelson, 32
9. Vatanen, 31
10. Jones, 28

#11 fines

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 17:06

Originally posted by Hieronymus
Fines, do you perhaps still have this magazine and report? If so, does it give more details, other than what Milan Fistonic has already kindly contributed. Information like race number on cars is also of interest to me, especially with regards to Depailler.

I do have a photo of Depailler in the Lancia Stratos (tried to post it here, but was just again reminded that I am an computer idiot). The number on Depailler's car one can't read on the photo.

I now own two of those magazines, as the original one is slowly falling apart (I was 11 years old then, and always an avid reader...;)), and later got hold of a complete set of the year. But, sadly, neither of the two has much detail in its report - it was more along the lines: "Hey, look at this, F1 drivers doing a rallye", not much depth. :(

#12 Hieronymus

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Posted 30 January 2003 - 10:04

Thanks chaps!

I tried to post the photo of Depailler in the Lancia Stratos, but not even after reading the thread on "posting of images", I COULD MAKE ANY LOGIC HOW TO DO THIS.