The ‘Empty Quarter’ – one of the harshest and most challenging desert locations on the planet
The Empty Quarter – or Rub’ al Khali – the largest sand desert in the world and the second largest desert after the Sahara. By day, Intensely hot with temperatures exceeding 50°C and dangerously arid. A true test for man and machine with no reliable water sources and an ever-shifting terrain.
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 – the route dictated by the conditions on the ground.
The time was set by a standard production new Range Rover Sport with a 510PS 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 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.”
Watch the Drive.co.uk Short HD Video
The team encountered a constantly challenging landscape including vast sand flats, soft dunes and epic canyons. They set off at first light on November 3rd 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 50°C and any crossing, no matter how well organised, must be approached with extreme caution.
Read More Land Rover news and Reviews at Drive.co.uk/LAND-ROVER
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