Searing heat. Towering sand dunes.
No match for a Range Rover Sport.
It’s 4am on a cold desert morning. Drivers, technicians and production crew go through their final briefing ahead of an immense challenge – to cross the Empty Quarter on the Arabian Peninsula, one of the most inhospitable places on the planet.
Intensely hot by day, with temperatures exceeding 50°C, the Empty Quarter covers 400,000 square miles of dangerously arid and ever-shifting terrain. Which makes it the perfect challenge for the all-new Range Rover Sport.
Behind the wheel is Land Rover driver, Moi Torrallardona, a Spanish off-road racer with extensive experience of the Dakar Rally. In his opinion, the challenge of the desert is like nothing else.
“It is a brutal, unforgiving and sometimes deadly environment. 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.”
With the sun beginning to appear, and vast sand flats, soft dunes and epic canyons ahead of them, the crew set off in a standard production all-new Range Rover Sport with a 510PS 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine, running standard tyres. Moi was able to drive at an average speed of 52mph, resulting in the fastest recorded time for completing the punishing 528-mile journey – 10 hours and 22 minutes. That was achieved despite being left to finish the race alone, having lost radio contact with his support vehicle after driving over a 200m high sand dune.
And even more impressive? The all-new Range Rover Sport that took on the desert had only one small modification – a plate to protect the underbody from the harsh sand.