Ulaanbaatar? In a Nova? We'll take it one steppe at a time

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If you are preparing to journey 10,000 miles, across 14 countries, over seven mountain ranges, through three deserts and over numerous rivers, you want to have a car you can rely on.

Probably not a clapped-out 20-year-old Vauxhall Nova.

But brothers Peter, 18, and Daniel Auton, 23, will be relying on the worn- out motor when taking part in the gruelling Mongol Rally for the Mercy Corps and several other charities in a 1988 Vauxhall they have dubbed 'Saucy Sue.'

Under the team name The Salty Sea Doggs, the duo, from Nursery Lane, Stubbington, will line up alongside 299 other teams from across the globe for the start of the rally in London's Hyde Park on July 19.

And as there is no fixed route, the lads don't know exactly how long it will take to reach their final destination – Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

Peter, a student, said: 'I first heard about the rally last year when I was doing a course at South Downs College, and we all had to do a presentation on outdoors events. Someone did one on the rally and it grasped me from there.

'I came home and told my brother about it and we decided we should have a go.

'You get to go through so many different countries that you wouldn't normally choose to go through. I didn't even know Uzbekistan existed until this trip.'

The rally's only real rule is that all vehicles taking part can only have an engine size of up to one litre. The boys eventually found their Nova after trawling through the classifieds and paid just 240 for it.

Peter added: 'I quite enjoy doing charity events. I took part in a bike ride to Brighton for Comic Relief last year, but this is in a whole other league.'

They hope the journey will take no more than a month, and plan to take it easy on the way back via the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The rally was launched in 2001 when a pair of adventurous Englishmen embarked on a trip to Mongolia in a Fiat 126. They didn't complete the journey, but vowed to return and the seed was sown.

The official rally began in 2004, with four teams completing the distance out of six starters. 43 teams entered in 2005, 167 in 2006 and 186 in 2007.