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2011-12-12 09:40

RIVER DEEP: This competitor from the 2010 race barely slowed down for the ford.Text.

LONDON, England - Cars from Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland as well as the UK converged on Land's End in far south-west England on Saturday for the start of the UK’s toughest car rally – Le Jog.

Cars ranging from a 1937 Riley Sport to a 1958 Jaguar XK 150 are now battling it out to win the prestigious event.

It is the 17th annual running of the world-acclaimed rally over a  a 2240km course from Land's End at the extreme south-western tip of England and John O'Groats at the extreme north-eastern tip of Scotland with the longest night navigation section yet included in Wales.


70 cars left Land's End at 7.45am for the four-day trek along the length of Britain to John O’Groats. Event director and clerk of the course Peter Nedin said: “Le Jog is one of the toughest events of its kind in Europe, possibly the world, and we constantly strive to maintain this enviable reputation.

"We have no idea what the weather will bring but it certainly won’t stop the drivers - they'll do all they can to finish to course no matter  the conditions."

Tomas de Vargas Machuca, MD of the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation, Hero, said: "This will be one of the most testing events we have run. The weather is already closing in but, as in past editions, the event has attracted crews from all over Europe and beyond which is a testament to the event and to all those who work so hard to make it happen.”

WHATEVER THE WEATHER: This shot from the 2010 event shows that nothing will stop a Jog contestant.

All sorts of cars will race, including a Riley Sports Special from 1937 driven by Richard Jeffcoate and James May, a 1958 Jaguar XK 150 driven by Charles Graves and Ron Palmer and a 1960 Peugeot being driven by Pieter and Thijs Hennipman from Holland. Among the est are BMW’s, Triumphs and Porsches.

BMW Park Lane Classic has prepared a 1973 BMW 1602 sedan. The car was  repatriated from Italy.

The infamous Welsh night section will have more than 30 time controls - 75% of which will be four-minute sections and the longest section will be only 5.6km - but the route has been designed with loops to allow controls to be cut for those running late.

Wales will also see some tough, late-evening regularities where crews' driving, navigating and time-keeping will be thoroughly tested.  "We want to see every crew arrive at the Telford (west of Birmingham) rest halt tired but with a big satisfied grin on their faces" Nedin said.


In addition the 2011 Le Jog will have 30 tests at 26 venues - more than double the number of some recent Le Jogs Many of them will be at new venues, others have been completely redesigned.

The overall number of regularities has been reduced slightly but the Jogularity format will be exploited to the full and Le Jog will continue to provide the navigators with considerable map-reading challenges.

Crew from the UK, Europe and America will, between the, be driving 7 Mercedess, 7 Triumphs, 6 Minis, 5 MG's, 4 BMW's; 4 Porsches; 3 Volvos and 3 VW's, among others.

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