In one of the most gruelling events on the International Raid calendar, the Tunisia rally, no less than 8 Wildcats finished the course on Friday May 7th in Douz after 1,848 kilometres, fought out in the heat of North Africa by almost 50 four-wheel competitors.
Among the entrants were 10 Wildcats of varying power configurations and, testament not only to the stamina of the drivers and co-drivers but also to the rugged durability of the cars, 8 of them finished. The highest placed, in 9th position, was Yves Fromont, co-driven by Paul Vidal, both seasoned raid and Baja exponents.
Since Qt Services acquired the production rights to Wildcat in 2007, a number of important improvements have been filtering through to existing vehicles, notably in the development of suspension and chassis upgrades. For example, Qt has worked closely with Donerre, the eminent French Damper manufacturer, to create a revised configuration that has resulted not only in improved handling but has the made the renowned Wildcat ride even more supple.
Dave Marsh, boss of QT Services, personally oversees every step of any Wildcat development, even undertaking initial tests himself. “I’ve been competing in hill rally events for most of my life and bringing on development of the Wildcat is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. Now, seeing some of these improvements bringing reliability and success to our customers, such as this on the Tunisia rally, makes all the effort worthwhile.”
Michel Visey was campaigning his Jaguar V8-engined Wildcat on only his third rally since taking delivery. “The engine is a force to be reckoned with, delivering superb torque and power characteristics,” said Marsh, “and getting competition miles on the engine in a tough event like this is the main thing for us and it performed faultlessly.”
The next big outing for the Wildcat contingency is the Estoril to Marrakech rally, when all at Qt Services will be keeping their fingers crossed for a 100% Wildcat finish this time.