The Land Rover G4 Challenge recce team is breaking new ground every day, having already covered over 10,000 miles of remote terrain across southeast Asia seeking out a trailblazing route. Trekking from Thailand to the Vietnamese border, taking in Cambodia and Laos, the mountains, jungle and valleys of the region have been combed in order to locate the most rigorous tests for the competitors and their near-standard Land Rovers in the opening stages of the 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge.
"With a competition of this magnitude it takes a lot of time to work through all possible locations and routes before you can get on with planning the competitive activities," said Niki Davies, Project Director. "In the end, we have focused the action of the early stages in the wilderness of Laos. It’s a beautiful part of the world, taking you from northern Thailand to the borders of Cambodia and Vietnam, with off-road routes that go on for hours at a time. The valleys around the Mekong River are a particular favourite, where the mud, water and river crossings can seem endless."
The four-week event, which Land Rover has confirmed will begin on 23 April 2006, starts with an urban challenge in the thriving metropolis of Bangkok, capital of Thailand, before venturing out into the mountainous hardwood forests of Laos. With forested mountains making up much of the terrain, through which the Mekong River flows (known as the ‘Sea of Laos’), the competition will be played out amid a stunning setting with elephants, beautiful temples and ancient ruins all nestling in the jungle.
When the 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge gets under way there will be 18 men and women representing their home nations in the month-long global adventure. Near-standard Land Rover vehicles, including the new Discovery 3 and a soon-to-be revealed new product, will carry an array of equipment that will aid the competitors as they bike, climb, kayak in their global quest for victory. They also form an integral part of the competition, with tough, daily 4x4 driving challenges in a fleet of vehicles in their distinctive orange paintwork. The ultimate victor of the 2006 Land Rover G4 Challenge will claim a brand new Range Rover at the end of an unforgettable experience.
As one of the world’s four remaining communist states, Laos remains largely untouched by the outside world and the arrival of a fleet of Land Rovers has certainly not gone unnoticed. "Already the presence of the Land Rover G4 Challenge is generating a lot of local interest," added Niki Davies. "We have received a tremendously warm and enthusiastic welcome, led by the Lao National Tourism Authority."
Once the Land Rover G4 Challenge has completed its opening stages in Southeast Asia, it then moves to South America, arriving on the world-famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro. The climax to the event comes on May 20 with a final showdown on the high plains of Bolivia.
Would-be competitors can apply online at www.landroverG4challenge.comPublished 15 November 2004