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New Range Rover Sport sets fastest recorded time for ‘Empty Quarter’ Desert Crossing

NOVEMBER 04, 2013

Standard production new Range Rover Sport conquers
   the harshest challenges of the desert and sets fastest
   recorded time of 10 hours, 22 minutes

-  Dawn to dusk drive of over 800km (479 miles) by off-road
   racer Moi Torrallardona – a driver with more than 10 years’
   experience of the Dakar Rally

-  Empty Quarter challenge reaffirms the Range Rover Sport
   as Land Rover's fastest, most responsive and agile 
   vehicle to date

- Second successful challenge for the new Range Rover Sport
   following speed record at Pikes Peak

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 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 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 51.87 mph (81.87 km/h), covering a distance of 849km (528 miles) – the route dictated by the conditions on the ground.

The time was set by a standard production new Range Rover Sport with a 510HP 5.0-litre supercharged V8 engine, running standard tires. The only modification to the vehicle was the fitment of an underbody protection plate.

The vehicle was driven by Land Rover driver Moi Torrallardona, a 47 year-old Spanish off-road racer with extensive experience of the Dakar Rally, in which he competed for ten successive years with a best finish of 6th overall.

Torrallardona said, “The challenge of the desert is like nothing else, it is a brutal, unforgiving and sometimes deadly environment. Desert driving requires a unique combination of speed, finesse and technical skill. It is crucial that 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 judgement. This unique way of driving requires a vehicle which has the same skillset – it must be both incredibly fast but also agile, responsive and well planted. The Range Rover Sport is exactly that. It is massively capable and is 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.

The challenge is the second that the new Range Rover Sport has completed in recent months, following its record hill climb for a production SUV at Pikes Peak back in June. These feats are part of a series of global driving challenges in which the Range Rover Sport is pushed to new limits.

The Empty Quarter

The Empty Quarter spans four countries in the Arabic Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Temperatures regularly rise above 50C and any crossing, no matter how well organized, must be approached with extreme caution.

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