The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sent a personal message today to the Race2Recovery team of severely injured soldiers and civilian volunteers who completed the gruelling Dakar Rally in Chile, South America.
The team, made up of mainly British servicemen along with two US Marines – many of them amputees following injuries in Afghanistan - set out with four Land Rover-based Wildcat vehicles on January 5th but only one vehicle, and crossed the finishing line late on Saturday evening.
The Duke and Duchess, who have followed the team’s progress since Day One said in their message: “Catherine and I have heard the wonderful news about your success today - many, many congratulations.
“We know it was not easy, but you have today become true record holders as the first ever disability team to complete what is one of the world's toughest challenges.
“What you have achieved was a triumph of perseverance and teamwork, and you have shown the world what true valour looks like. We hope you get some rest now, and, please, no driving like that on our roads when you're back!"
A statement has been released about the three Race2Recovery team members that were injured in a head-on collision during the Dakar Rally yesterday.
John Winskill, Justin Birchall and Lee Townsend are said to be stable and doing well.
A statement, posted on the Race2Recovery Facebook page said:
A third vehicle in the Race2Recovery team of injured soldiers who are attempting to complete the Dakar Rally for charity has been forced to retire after an accident.
The team has tweeted:
The Race2Recovery team is thanking its supporters after three team members were seriously injured in a accident in Peru.
A civilian volunteer and two former soldiers are receiving treatment in hospital after being involved in a car crash while competing in the Dakar Rally.
Retired Army Major John Winskil, Falklands veteran Lee Townsend and team driver Justin Birchall were injured in a head-on collision with two other vehicles which left two people dead.
The team has decided to continue competing in the Dakar Rally.
Three members of the Race2Recovery team who are attempting to complete the Dakar Rally for charity have been injured in a head-on collision in Peru.
The three men which including two former soldiers have been flown to a hospital in Lima where they are said to be "stable and conscious".
It's understood that two other people received fatal injuries in the accident.
The Race2Recovery team, who are hoping to become the first disability team to complete the Dakar Rally, said that they have almost completed the first stage of the race.
On the team's Facebook page, a message said: "Welcome to all our new followers. Our 4 Wildcats, each with an injured soldier as co-driver or driver, has completed stage one at Pisco, Peru on the Dakar Rally. We just await the arrival of our truck no. 575.".
A team of injured soldiers will begin the world's toughest rally in South America, hoping to become the first disability team to complete it.
ITV News' Damon Green reports:
The team of injured soldiers taking part in the world's toughest rally have begun their challenge.
The team tweeted an image from the starting line of the Dakar Rally, in Lima, Peru, adding: "The Race2Recovery truck just went through the Dakar 2013 start. All our vehicles are out there; let battle commence."
The group aims to be the first disability team to complete the rally, which ends in Santiago, Chile.