Driven couple to test their mettle with 1,000-mile rally

The roads in some parts of rural Cork might be a bit bumpy but they’re nothing compared to what a married couple will have to endure when they take part in a 1,000-mile rally in North Africa.

Driven couple to test their mettle with 1,000-mile rally

James and Karen O’Sullivan from Carrignavar have been picked to drive in the Conti4x4trophy, run by Continental Tyres, which takes in the Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert next month.

The couple, who are both engineers aged 36, will be one of 14 teams driving Hummers across spectacular scenery, navigating through shifting sand dunes and narrow rocky gorges.

Karen and co-driver James will fly out to Casablanca before travelling on to Ouarzazate, nicknamed ‘the door to the desert’ and where many films such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Living Daylights, The Mummy, and Gladiator were filmed.

This is where the driving begins.

“We’ve done nothing like this before, although we have both been driving for 20 years. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put our driving skills to the test,” Karen said.

There is an upside to the gruelling driving conditions. While navigating the difficult terrain during the day, they’ll be pampered at night in luxurious hotels, and have a true Bedouin experience with one night’s camping under the stars.

The couple came top in a competition run over 12 weeks and were one of 28 pairs invited to a qualifying event at the Land Rover test track, where their skills and aptitude were tested.

They had to demonstrate their off-road driving ability and a range of other skills before being selected for the trip.

Peter Robb, spokesman from Continental Tyres said: “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime driving experience. Karen and James can expect a real challenge. We’re really looking forward to them being part of an amazing adventure”

* conti4x4trophy.co.uk

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