Today we pay tribute to
Chandrashekhar “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, and in 1981 finished fifth in the World Rally Championship.A Kenyan
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. In 1972 he and his family fled Idi Amin’s regime
to Kenya, the year before he clinched his first Safari Rally title.
He was born in a rich business family, to Khimji Mehta and was grandson of Nanji Kalidas Mehta,
scion of Mehta Group. He married his sometime co-driver Yvonne Pratt in 1978 after a ten-year
courtship, and they had one son, Vijay, in 1980.
Through the most successful period of his career he drove Datsun cars. He won the
inaugural African Rally Championship in 1981, and the Cyprus Rally in 1976. 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