On Sunday, 23 April, in the thriving metropolis of Bangkok, 18 competitors will eagerly await the signal announcing the start of the 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge. The Challenge, which lasts 28 days, will see the 16 men and two women climb, kayak, abseil, bike, drive off-road and navigate their way over 4000 km of varied terrain in four countries, across two continents.
The urban competition kicks off the Land Rover G4 Challenge in Bangkok. Then, the competition ventures north into Laos for two-weeks of remote activity within the steamy mountains and valleys around the Mekong River where the jungle, mud, water and river crossings will provide an exciting array of 4x4 driving and multi-sport challenges.
On 5 May, the Challenge crosses the world to Brazil for the start of Stage 3 and a spectacular activity staged on the crowded beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Then they move onto Bolivia, where it gets tougher. Climbing the Andes Mountain range to altitudes of over 4000m and taking in such natural wonders as the vast salt plains of Salar de Uyuni, the event reaches its climax with the Challenge Final in a stunning remote natural amphitheatre near the city of Tarija. It is in this setting that the 18 competitors will complete the adventure and the ultimate victor of the 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge will claim a brand new Range Rover.
"The terrain of Laos and Bolivia will ensure some really challenging driving," explains Niki Davies, event director for the Land Rover G4 Challenge. "With very few tarmac roads, competitors will encounter deep rutted tracks, slippery mud crawls, slow winch sections and deep river crossings."
In total there will be 134 Land Rovers working in a variety of roles to support the 2006 Challenge. The competitors will use the all-new Range Rover Sport 4.4-litre V8 HSE in Southeast Asia, the 3-door 2.5-litre V6 SE Freelander during the Urban
Challenge in Rio de Janeiro and then the wilds of Bolivia will be tackled in the 4.4-litre V8 Discovery 3 HSE.
Training has been intense for the 18 competitors, as they prepare to push themselves to the limit in temperatures ranging from + 40 to -20 degrees C and extreme altitude. Their physical fitness, sporting and driving skills will need to be complemented with an ability to apply initiative and strategy to every situation.
"I've been dreaming of the moment I can represent the UK in the G4 Challenge for over 3 years. With the support of my employers GNER, my family and most of all my wife and 6 month old daughter I feel I am in the best shape I have ever been. What I don't know is whether it is better than the other 17, but I will be trying 100% all the way to win through for the UK! " commented Brian Reynolds, UK competitor.
The field of 18 competitors includes a fire-fighter, paramedic, lifeguard, army instructor, and graphic designer.
Throughout the Challenge, progress of each of the competitors will be available on a daily basis from www.landroverG4challenge.com.Published 11 April 2006