Wearing standard tyres and powered by the 5.0 litre supercharged V8 engine, the Range Rover Sport blasted 527 miles across the Empty Quarter just 10 hours 22 minutes at an average of 51.87 mph – impressive considering that the route was dictated by the shifting condition of the sands.
At the helm of the 503bhp Sport was Spanish off-road driver and seasoned Dakar Rally racer, Moi Torrallardona. ‘The challenge of the desert is like nothing else,’ he said. ‘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.’
Known in Arabic as Rub' al Khali, the Empty Quarter is the largest sand desert on Earth, spanning four countries in the Arabic Peninsula. Temperatures hover around 50 degrees C and annual rainfall is effectively nil. British explorers first described the area in the 1930s, followed later by renowned writer Wilfred Thesiger in travel tales such as ‘Arabian Sands’. Nevertheless, the Empty Quarter has remained among the Earth’s most inaccessible environments.
This is the second record set by the new Range Rover Sport in recent months, following its record hill climb for a production SUV at Pikes Peak in June.