Range Rover Sport bests desert record

Standard Range Rover Sport shows its desert chops 'Best tool' bests record

The new Range Rover Sport conquered the harsh Empty Quarter desert and set fastest recorded time of 10 hours, 22 minutes. Photo / Supplied
The new Range Rover Sport conquered the harsh Empty Quarter desert and set fastest recorded time of 10 hours, 22 minutes. Photo / Supplied

The new Range Rover Sport has set the fastest recorded time for a land vehicle crossing of the Empty Quarter - one of the harshest and most challenging desert environments on the planet.

The drive team completed the journey from Wadi Adda Wasir in Saudi Arabia to the border of the United Arab Emirates in 10 hours and 22 minutes at an average speed of 81.87 km/h, covering a distance of 849km - the route dictated by the conditions on the ground.

The time was set by a standard production new Range Rover Sport with a 375kW 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine, running standard tyres. The only modification to the vehicle was the fitment of an underbody protection plate.

The vehicle was driven by Land Rover aficionado Moi Torrallardona, a 47-year-old Spanish off-road racer who has extensive experience of the Dakar Rally.

The Empty Quarter - or Rub' al Khali - is the largest sand desert in the world and the second largest desert after the Sahara.

Intensely hot by day with temperatures exceeding 50C, it is also dangerously arid. With no reliable water sources and an ever-shifting terrain, it provides a true test for man and machine.

"The challenge of the desert is like nothing else. It is a brutal, unforgiving and, sometimes, deadly environment," said Torrallardona.

The map of the route the Range Rover Sport took across the Empty Quarter desert, in the Arabian Peninsula, in record time.
The map of the route the Range Rover Sport took across the Empty Quarter desert, in the Arabian Peninsula, in record time.

"Desert driving requires a combination of speed, finesse and technical skill. It is crucial you tackle the dunes with precision. Knowing the right time to go full throttle and the right time to slow down, takes experience and clear judgment. The Range Rover Sport is hugely capable ... truly the best tool for conquering the desert."

The team encountered a constantly challenging landscape including vast sand flats, soft dunes and epic canyons. They set off at first light on November 3 and finished the challenge 10 hours later on the border as the sun was setting.

- NZ Herald

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