A squad of injured serviceman led by an Earlsfield army Major are aiming to become the first disabled team to complete the world's toughest race - The Dakar Rally.
Race2Recovery, the 28-strong group of predominantly injured soldiers, are in Lima, Peru, and will tomorrow (January 5) begin their quest to finish the challenge.
Until 2008 competitors raced between Paris and Dakar, in Senegal, but political strife in Mauritania meant the route had to be shifted to run between Lima and Santiago, in Chile.
Now participants must power there way through 9,000km of treacherous roads taking in the Peruvian, Argentinian and Chilean countryside plus the formidable Andes mountain range, in just 15 days.
The Race2Recovery team includes Major Matthew O'Hare who served in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for 11 years and toured Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Major O’Hare, said: "To be standing in Lima, amongst all the other teams, at the world’s biggest and toughest rally event, is testament to the strength, belief and team spirit that exists within Race2Recovery.
"The atmosphere here in Lima is electric and there’s now so much excitement and anticipation in the team that we all really want to get started.
"We’re determined to do our utmost to get our four race cars across the finish line after 15 days of what will be extreme rallying across mountain and desert.
"All my family and friends in the UK, including those in London, are right behind me and the team."
The team has four Wildcat race vehicles, a 4x4 truck, 8x8 support trucks and a number of Land Rover Discovery vehicles.
Race2Recovery has been raising money for Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre, one of six Personnel Recovery Centres that have been established as part of the Defence Recovery Capability.
The team hope to complete their epic journey in Santiago by January 20.
To follow the Race2Recovery team’s progress on the Dakar Rally, to make a donation to the fundraising effort visit the website www.race2recovery.com or to donate £5 via mobile text RACE20 £5 to 70070.