There’s still time to join one of 2019’s most exciting automotive adventures, driving the original Dakar Rally route across the Sahara Desert in an ageing Citroen Berlingo. Organised by Driven to Extremes, this challenging event raises funds to support military and emergency services veterans suffering from PTSD.
Originally conceived as a support programme to help ex-service personnel with their recovery, by taking them on confidence-building vehicle adventure, next year’s ‘Sahara Overland Challenge’ has been opened up to the public. Driving a £500 Berlingo, participating teams will have to tackle the original Dakar Rally route through Morocco, covering 1,000 miles of sand, rock and gravel. With teams of adventurers from all walks of life already committed to this adventure, the clock is ticking till they set off next March.
Delivered by expedition specialist Max Adventure, the expert team behind the event has worked alongside the likes of explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Hollywood actor Tom Hardy in as far-flung places as Siberia, the North Pole and Mt Everest. The ‘Sahara Overland Challenge’ sets off from Gibraltar, crossing the narrow Straits before heading into the wilds of North Africa. Over the following two weeks the adventurers will encounter everything from mountain passes and desert tracks to dry riverbeds.
Despite its humble demeanor, the Citroen Berlingo has proven itself a highly capable car to tackle such challenges. Reliable, robust and easy to repair in the middle of nowhere, the Driven to Extremes team have settled on this MPV as the vehicle of choice after last year’s successful ‘Dakar Challenge’. Of course, with any used car costing £500 there are always going to be issues, so the adventurers are backed up by a professional support crew in expedition equipped Nissan Patrol 4×4’s who are on hand to cover any eventuality.
Following in the spirit of the Camel Trophy, the ‘Sahara Overland Challenge’ is neither a race nor a rally, but an adventurous expedition that requires endurance, stamina and resilience when the going gets tough. Whilst battling through arduous terrain in such a challenging and extreme environment, common issues include punctured tyres, holed engine sumps, damaged exhausts and endless vehicle recoveries from soft sand. But with all teams pulling together when needed, no one is left stranded.
Entering the ‘Sahara Overland Challenge 2019’ costs just £1,995 per team, based on two people per car, and £2,395 per team if three per car. This cost includes return ferry from Spain to Morocco, all accommodation in Morocco, branded team shirts and vehicle graphics. Each team must find and prepare their own Citroen Berlingo, or its twin, the Peugeot Partner, both fitted with the 1.9 non-turbo diesel engines but Driven to Extremes will advise on sourcing and preparing a suitable vehicle. Each team is also required to raise a minimum of £1,000 for Driven to Extremes in order to help further veterans.
The total adventure takes three weeks, but a two-week itinerary is available which allows you to fly to the start point in Gibraltar, and meet your car ready for the off.
- 3 week option – 13 March to 3 April (Portsmouth to Portsmouth)
- 2 week option – 16 to 31 March (Gibraltar to Gibraltar)
So, if you want the chance to test your mettle in a Citroen Berlingo on the original Dakar Rally route, contact email@example.com for further information, or visit the ‘Driven to Extremes’ website and Facebook page.