The enterprise was sponsored by Warranty Direct, and served to raise money and awareness for the charity Farm Africa. Piloted by experienced endurance rally drivers Robert Belcher and Stephen Cooper, the Discovery crossed the finish line in Cape Town at 09:16 this morning.
They smashed the record set earlier this year by an 875cc Fiat Panda by more than 10 hours, and in doing so they exceeded their target average of 42mph, 24 hours a day.
Their chosen vehicle, a 2005 Discovery 3 powered by a standard 2.7-litre TDV6 engine, was driven around the clock and endured a variety of terrains, including hundreds of miles of rough tracks in Africa. Aside from underbody protection, driving lights and extra fuel tanks giving a 1200-mile range, the vehicle was largely unmodified.
The duo’s success was put briefly in jeopardy when a harsh bump in the road caused a brake warning light to come on. Fortunately though, the fault was cleared a few hours later when the vehicle hit another bump!
Victory came as a relief for Duncan McClure Fisher, Managing Director of Warranty Direct, who had been concerned about the Discovery’s durability given its poor performance in the company’s Reliability Index. ‘However, the knowledge that previous records had been set in Land Rovers and the opportunity to support a great cause soon outweighed our worries,’ said Fisher. ‘We are delighted that the guys have broken the record, and in a British built vehicle too.”
Robert and Stephen raced across Europe in just 27 hours and traversed through a total of 13 countries – England, France, Italy, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana and finally South Africa.
Driver Robert Belcher said, ‘What a journey. We’re exhausted but absolutely elated to have broken the record and to have done it so safely and smoothly. Despite the complexities of crossing so many borders we had relatively easy passage through each country and the friendly faces along the way made it all so worthwhile. After seeing changing scenery like we have over the last ten days, and sometimes going hours without seeing another vehicle, I think we will both struggle returning to the morning commute!’
For more information about the charity Farm Africa, visit their website at farmafrica.org. Donations can still be made through the expedition’s website at londoncapetownrecord.co.uk. More information about Warranty Direct can be found at warrantydirect.co.uk