The Range Rover Sport has set a record for the fastest land vehicle on the ‘Empty Quarter.’ The Empty Quarter -- or Rub' al Khali -- is considered as one of the harshest and most challenging desert environments on earth, being the largest sand desert and the second largest desert after the Sahara. It boasts of extreme day temperatures that top 50°C, aside from being arid.
The Empty Quarter provides a true challenge for any driver and his vehicle, no thanks to unreliable water sources and an ever-shifting terrain. The drive team started the challenge from the Wadi Adda Wasir in Saudi Arabia and reached the border of the United Arab Emirates -- covering a distance of 849km -- in just 10 hours and 22 minutes, cruising at an average speed of 51.87 mph (81.87 km/h).
The record time was achieved by a standard production Range Rover Sport powered by a 510PS 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine and riding on standard tires. The only modification made was the fitting of an underbody protection plate. It was piloted by Land Rover driver Moi Torrallardona, a Spanish off-road racer having extensive Dakar Rally experience.
Torrallardona remarked that the challenge of the desert is like nothing else, "it is a brutal, unforgiving and sometimes deadly environment." He noted that desert driving requires a "unique combination of speed, finesse and technical skill." He said that challenging the Empty Quarter requires a vehicle having the same skill set – it must be fast, agile, responsive and well planted, just like the Range Rover Sport.
Crossing a desert is never a simple feat, even for a well-equipped vehicle. However, for the 2014 Range Rover Sport, crossing the famed Empty Quarters is not a just an achievement but also a record. Yes, the 2014 Range Rover Sport piloted by Land Rover driver Moi Torrallardona crossed the Arabian Peninsula in a record-setting fashion, becoming the fastest vehicle to cross the desert.
The Land Rover team faced a perilous and challenging terrain that includes vast sand flats, soft dunes and deep canyons. The team commenced the crossing challenge on the first light on November 3 and reached the border on the side 10 hours later. According to Torrallardona, the desert is brutal, unforgiving and sometimes deadly. He remarked that desert driving requires a combination of speed, finesse and technical skill.
He noted that it is crucial to tackle the sand dunes with precision, adding that knowing the right time to go full throttle and to slow down takes experience and clear judgment. He remarked that challenging the desert requires a vehicle with the same skillset –fast, agile, responsive and well planted – just like the Range Rover Sport. He noted that the Range Rover Sport is massively capable and is the best tool for “conquering the desert.”
Torrallardona, 47, boasts of an extensive experience of the Dakar Rally, competing for ten successive years. His best finish was sixth overall. Crossing the Empty Quarters is the second challenge that the new Range Rover Sport has completed in recent months, following the record run at Pikes Peak in June.