A BRITISH armed forces team of disabled veterans has completed one of the world’s toughest desert rallies.
The Future Terrain team thrashed three Dacia Dusters on a combined 3,000 miles through the Sahara in a seven-day adventure.
They took on giant sand dunes, rocky roads, flooded tracks and other harsh terrain in the Carta Rallye — having just driven more than 2,000 miles from England to the starting line in Morocco.
They battled gruelling conditions to finish second and third in their categories on one day.
While a number of specially-built rally cars costing hundreds of thousands were getting stuck overnight in the desert, their hardy Dacias made it back to the camp each evening after ten to 12 hours of driving plus night stages.
Navigation during the orienteering-type competition was made extra difficult by the unpredictable weather. Sunshine was interrupted by heavy downpours and visibility was limited by regular sandstorms.
The Future Terrain team is made up of wounded, injured and sick former and serving members of the armed forces, who use motorsport and off-road driving to gain qualifications to redefine themselves after life-changing injury.
One of the drivers was former soldier George Frost, a 37-year-old dad-of-one from Dorset who suffers from complex PTSD.
George was returning to a desert environment for the first time since serving in the military.
He said: “I was nervous beforehand because it was my first trip back to the desert.
“I never thought it would be something I would do but it was better than I was expecting and I think I would probably do it again.
“It was an amazing adventure and it has helped my mental health. I have learnt a lot from the experience. I’ve learnt to push myself further.
“The cars exceeded my expectations. We proved a lot of people wrong.”
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Apart from roll cages for safety, all-terrain tyres and some underbody protection, the cars remained standard and were near identical to the Duster 4x4s which cost £13,700 in the UK.
The team and their four-wheel drive Dusters have now returned to the UK following the event which ended on Sunday.
They will now prepare themselves and their next challenge – racing the Dacia Dusters in the British Cross-Country Championship rally series.
Grant White, co-founder of Future Terrain, added: “The Carta Rallye is a highly demanding event, even for the fittest able-bodied people.
“When you bring people into the mix who are in wheelchairs, with prosthetic limbs or have mental illness, it really ups the ante.”
Veterans with life-changing injuries are among the brave souls taking on this tough challenge[/caption]
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