April 29, 2003
Belgian wins Land Rover G4 Challenge
Moab, Utah – Belgian fighter pilot Rudi Thoelen bested competitors from 15 other nations to win the first Land Rover G4 Challenge. Thoelen, 31, rappelled, 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.
The 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.
Reacting 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.”
The 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.
From 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.
“We’re 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.
The ambitious Land Rover G4 Challenge will be featured in two, one-hour television specials to be seen this autumn on the Outdoor Life Network.
Visitfor news on the Challenge, competitor rankings and downloadable image and text files.