Range Rover climbs rock arch of Heaven’s Gate

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

LAND Rover’s petrol-elec­tric per­for­mance Range Rover Sport PHEV has be­come the first ve­hi­cle to climb the stairs to the nat­u­ral rock arch of Heaven’s Gate.

The chal­lenge be­gan at the bottom of the leg­endary 11,3 km Tian­men Moun­tain Road (known as the Dragon Road). The show­room stan­dard Range Rover Sport P400e took on the de­mand­ing course, with Pana­sonic Jaguar Rac­ing’s Ho-Pin Tung be­hind the wheel and the Ter­rain Re­sponse 2 sys­tem in Dy­namic mode.

At the sum­mit of the road, the For­mula E driver op­ti­mised Ter­rain Re­sponse for the sec­ond part of the chal­lenge, con­quer­ing the tow­er­ing 45-de­gree stair­case of 999 steps lead­ing to China’s leg­endary Heaven’s Gate us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of In­ge­nium petrol and elec­tric bat­tery power. Ho-Pin Tung said: “I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced For­mula E, For­mula 1 and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was with­out doubt one of the most de­mand­ing driv­ing chal­lenges I’ve ever faced.

“The Range Rover Sport PHEV per­formed bril­liantly as it in­spired real con­fi­dence on the moun­tain road and climbed the stairs up to Heaven’s Gate ef­fort­lessly.”

The Range Rover Sport PHEV will go on sale in South Africa in the sec­ond half of 2018. — WR.

PHOTO: LAND ROVER

A dizzy­ing 99 turns and 999 daunt­ing steps didn’t stop the new Range Rover Sport PHEV from com­plet­ing a world-first at one of China’s most fa­mous land­marks.

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