Shekhar Mehta
Born
Chandra Shekhar Mehta

(1945-06-20)20 June 1945
Died12 April 2006(2006-04-12) (aged 60)
CitizenshipKenyan
OccupationRally Driver
RelativesNanji Kalidas Mehta (grandfather)
Jay Mehta (cousin)

Chandra Shekhar Mehta (20 June 1945 – 12 April 2006) was a Ugandan-born Kenyan rally driver. He won the Safari Rally a record five times (1973, 1979–82), including four consecutively,[1] and in 1981 finished fifth in the World Rally Championship.[2]

Biography

A Ugandan of Indian descent, he was born in 1945 to a family of plantation owners in Uganda, and began rallying behind the wheel of a BMW aged 21.[3] In 1972, he and his family fled Idi Amin's regime to Kenya,[4] the year before he clinched his first Safari Rally title.

He was born into a wealthy business family, the son of Khimji Mehta and the grandson of Nanji Kalidas Mehta, founder of the Mehta Group. He was the cousin of Indian businessman, Jay Mehta who is the head of the Mehta Group.[5] He married his sometime co-driver Yvonne Pratt in 1978 after a ten-year courtship, and they had one son, Vijay, in 1980.[6]

Through the most successful period of his career he drove Datsun cars. He won the inaugural African Rally Championship in 1981,[7] and the Cyprus Rally in 1976.[8] He was on the podium at the 1981 Rally Codasur, twice at the Acropolis Rally and three times at the Rallye Côte d'Ivoire. His career came to an end in 1986 after a nearly fatal crash at Rallye des Pharaons, Egypt while driving for Peugeot.

After his driving days were over he held various administrative positions at the FIA. He became president of the FIA Rally commission in 1997, and was re-appointed as interim President of the World Rally Championship commission shortly before his death. He died in London on 12 April 2006 from liver problems, hepatitis, and illness relating to complications from an old injury.[9][10]

References

  1. ^ Safari Rally Roll of Honour, Rallybase.nl
  2. ^ 1981 World Rally Championship for Drivers Final classification, Rallybase.nl
  3. ^ "Shekhar Mehta and John Large" Archived 17 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Issue 4 Article 2, FIA News
  4. ^ "Come, Let Us Now Praise Famous Ugandans...", Joachim Buwembo, The Daily Nation, 2 September 2002.
  5. ^ "Shree Shekharbhai Khimjibhai Nanji Kalidas Mehta (formerly of Lugazi) died in London on Wednesday 12 April at the age of 61 years". Archived from the original on 27 June 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  6. ^ "Rally icon remembered" Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Sports Monthly, issue 52.
  7. ^ African Rally Championship Past Winners Archived 11 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Cyprus Rally - past events Archived 8 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Shekhar Mehta dies in London", Eastandard.net, 13 April 2006.
  10. ^ "Shekhar Mehta Loses Battle With Illness"[permanent dead link], Yahoo UK & Ireland Sports, 12 April 2006.
Sporting positions Preceded byinaugural African Rally Champion 1981 Succeeded byWalter Röhrl