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Land Rover Selects Final 16 G4 Challengers

    EASTNOR, Herefordshire, England, Jan. 24 -- At the end of a
grueling five-day training and assessment program, the final 16 competitors
who will represent their countries in the 2003 Land Rover G4 Challenge have
been selected.  From now until the event kick-off in New York City on March
30th, they will undertake training and preparation programs in readiness for
the rigors of the Challenge itself - four consecutive weeks, four time zones
and intense physical and mental competition.
    The final 16 are, in alphabetical order of the country they will

    Chris Perry
    Shinichi Yoshimoto
    Guy Andrews
    Erik Den Oudendammer
    Rudi Thoelen
    Sergey Polyansky
    Jim Kuhn
    South Africa
    Chester Foster
    Franck Salgues
    Inigo De Lara
    Dirk Ostertag
    Cuneyt Gazioglu
    Paul McCarthy
    Tim Pickering
    Alberta Chiappa
    Nancy Olson

    The International Selections event took place at the 5,000 acre Eastnor
Castle estate, home to the Land Rover Driving Experience and a world-renowned
center for off-road driving excellence.  During the program, which ran from
Sunday, January 19th through Friday, January 24th, a total of 32 prospective
competitors, two from each of 16 participating countries, were put through a
series of demanding assessment sessions, including GPS and navigation, off
road driving, mountain biking, climbing/abseiling and kayaking.  The purpose
of the event was not only to select the final competitor for each nation based
on quantitative scoring systems, but also to train all 32 competitors in each
discipline to give them all the skills and knowledge required to complete the
Challenge safely.  In the event of the selected competitor being unable to
take part, the reserve competitor will step in to fly their national flag.
    Selected or not, competitors were united after International Selections in
their enjoyment of the experience:
    Guido Sacre, Germany: "This International Selections is one of the best
things I have ever done!  What really makes International Selections special
is the connection we get with all the other countries.  It has been really
great fun and exciting to be here; not to compete with the others but just to
live this experience.  This is for me a great challenge and I have been really
happy to be able to participate in these International Selections."

    Nancy Olson, USA: "This entire experience from National Selections to
International Selections has been the experience of a lifetime for me.  When I
signed up for this on the Internet I really didn't know what I was getting
myself into.  It all sounded good but no words can describe the actual
experience.  It has been amazing meeting with everybody from all these
different countries, they are wonderful to work with and we have all come
together and bonded as competitors but also as friends.  And I think that this
is going to be the major take-away, it's that we've made friends around the
world.  Now whenever we leave home, we'll never be far away from home."

    Tim Pickering, UK: "I've had an adventure this week, an absolutely
fantastic adventure.  I've learned so many things.  I am going to walk away
and it is going to take me weeks and weeks to process all the information
that's gone through my head.  I have learned many different things and some
new techniques.  It has all been really good and we have had a great week.  I
am absolutely exhausted.  I am looking forward to a hot bath and a cold beer."

    Maktoum Al Maktoum, Arabia: "The International Selections were fantastic,
a great bunch of people, very cold, very wet, very tough, and ... fantastic."

    Franck Salgues, France: "I think it was a very good melting pot.  Sixteen
countries are represented here.  It is interesting to race against all those
people.  The competition is very strategic, not only about sport.  I think the
winner of the challenge will certainly be someone very strategic, adaptable,
and who has good physical fitness.  My experience of the International
Selections can be described as 'making friends, challenging, and sharing.'"

    Niki Davies, Land Rover G4 Challenge Project Director, commented: "We have
been overwhelmed by the level of professionalism and team spirit demonstrated
by all the competitors this week.  Despite the fact they have been camping out
every night and living on 'boil in the bag' meals to replicate the conditions
they will find on the Challenge, everyone has turned in a great performance
and it has been difficult to make the final selection."

    For further details of the Land Rover G4 Challenge and to follow the
action online from March 30th to April 26th, visit .