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Desert duel: Landy vs. 1000km

2013-10-25 11:18

READY FOR BATTLE: Land Rover iis set to challenge the 'Empty Quarter', the largest sand desert in the world, with a standard Range Rover Sport. Image: Newspress

1000km long and 500km wide vs. a man in Range Rover Sport. Madness? Land Rover thinks it’s a piece of cake. 

Land Rover will attempt to set the fastest recorded time for a land vehicle crossing of the 'Empty Quarter' of Saudi Arabia - one of the most challenging deserts in the world - at the wheel of the new Range Rover Sport.

The gruelling attempt will start later in October 2013 at Wadi Adda Wasir, Saudi Arabia at dusk and finish at dawn. According to Land Rover, the route will run from there to the border of the United Arab Emirates, a distance of more than 1000km – almost as far as Cape Town to Johannesburg.


Moi Torrallardona, a 47 year-old Spanish off-road racer with extensive experience of the Dakar Rally, will drive the Landy. Torrallardona has competed in 10 consecutive Dakar events with a best finish of sixth.

The Empty Quarter, on the Arabian Peninsula, is a dangerously arid climate with no reliable water sources and ever-shifting sands - one of the most treacherous areas a man and his wheels could face. Harsh driving conditions will be coupled with temperatures exceeding 50 degrees and high sand dunes. Land Rover says the Empty Quarter, or Rub' al Khali as it is known in Arabic, is the largest sand desert in the world and the second largest desert, after the Sahara, on Earth.

So why is this so special? Usually this type of terrain is only conquered by specialist sand vehicles and not ordinary production cars such as the Range Rover. The automaker is confident that, with its light suspension design, dynamic chassis technologies and aluminium body, the new Range Rover Sport can make it.

The challenge will run its course by early November 2013, in time to display the vehicle at the 2013 Dubai Motor Show on November 5.

How many off-roader freaks out there think the Namib would have been a tougher challenge than the woosie dunes of Arabia, especially in summer? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...

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