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Injured soldiers finish Dakar Rally

22 Jan 2014 at 12:25

A team of injured soldiers and civilian volunteers has crossed the finish line at the Dakar Rally, conquering the "world's toughest race" for the second year in a row.

The Race2Recovery team became the first disabled team to finish the race last year and repeated the feat this time around with their arrival in Chile on Saturday January 18.

The Land Rover-sponsored team crossed the line in their truck at 14:30 local time, greeted by their support crew, and then made their way to the final podium in Valparaiso at 22:45 as crowds gathered in the city centre.

The race team included Corporal Daniel Whittingham from Nottingham, who had his leg amputated below the knee after being injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. He was joined by truck driver Mark Cullum from Hereford, and co-driver Chris Ratter from Knutsford.

They took on some of the world's most difficult terrain, including the Andes mountain range and Atacama Desert, as they covered more than 9,100km in total.

More than half of those entered in the various categories of the gruelling event pulled out, with only 204 vehicles completing the challenge.

Corporal Whittingham, speaking at the finish line, said: "I'm so proud of the team. To finish one Dakar, last year, was amazing. To finish a second consecutive Dakar is just unbelievable.

"The whole team pulled together and worked extremely hard and we're really grateful for the support we've had from the fans, the media, our sponsors, especially Land Rover, and other teams and competitors in the event, particularly the Red Bull Desert Wings team."

Copyright Press Association 2014