UT - Belgian fighter pilot Rudi Thoelen bested
competitors from 15 other nations to win the first Land
Rover G4 Challenge. Thoelen, 31, repelled, mountain biked,
kayaked, navigated and drove a difficult off-road course
to ultimately claim the grand prize, a $71,200 Range Rover
in the unique competition. The victory was narrow as Thoelen
edged out the four top finalists from France, Arabia and
Turkey. American Chris Perry, who works as a water park
manager in Dubai represented Arabia and narrowly missed
winning the grueling, month-long event by seconds.
victory for the personable Belgian capped four weeks of
adventure racing, on-and off-road driving in various Land
Rover models that covered more than 4,000 miles through
four seasons on three continents.
eacting to the win, Thoelen said, "We got to drive
four Land Rover vehicles in four weeks, on three continents.
This is an experience of a lifetime, and since it’s
the only adventure competition I've ever entered, I'm extremely
excited and proud to have represented my country."
U.S. entrant, 29-year old Nancy
Olson of Arlington, VA, one of only two females
in the event, finished 15th having encountered a number
of setbacks over the course of the competition. In today’s
finale she was twice pitched out of her small kayak while
navigating the swift currents of the Colorado River, which
cost her 2 places in the final results.
inaugural Land Rover G4 Challenge which combines urban and
rural locales was the most ambitious undertaking of its
type in Land Rover history. We congratulate all the competitors
for their outstanding efforts,” said Matthew
Taylor, Land Rover managing director.
Land Rover G4 Challenge began March 30 in New York City
with a novel, four-wheel drive course set up on a six-block
stretch of Broadway. It then spent a week traversing snowy
New England in Land Rover Freelanders with the competitors
using a variety of adventure skills to accumulate points
at widely spread remote locations.
the US, the entire crew, upward of 120 persons in total
moved to South Africa where over five days, the competitors
drove Defenders from Cape Town southeast to Cape Agulhas,
the southern most tip of the African continent, then on
to the spectacular coast of Kranshoek. From Africa it was
off to the remote North West Australian outback where they
spent the third week of the event, finishing in spectacular
form, kayaking across Sydney Harbor, before driving Range
Rovers on a specially constructed track built upon the world's
largest ocean barge. With the tension increasing, and the
field of potential winners decreasing, the sixteen competitors
returned to American soil for the final cross country trek
in Discoverys starting in Las Vegas and moving eastward
through the incredible scenery of southern Utah.
proud to have staged an event that brought together 16 people
representing 23 nations in a spirit of friendly competition
and cooperation that tested endurance, athletic ability,
strategy, and driving capability,” added Taylor
ambitious Land Rover G4 Challenge will be featured in a
two, one-hour television specials to be seen this autumn
on the Outdoor Life Network.