The first update from our intrepid reporter on the charity rally to Mongolia that has only two rules: your vehicle must be "crap" and no support is provided

The frenzied launch of the fifth Mongol rally in Hyde Park just a week ago seems like a distant memory. It's surreal even thinking back to the vast array of low-spec vehicles crawling out of the park at the start of the three-week rally, with taxis, ambulances and even a double-decker bus all attempting the 10,000-mile journey to Ulan Bator in Mongolia.

We are now in Turkey, about to tackle the notoriously time-consuming border into Iran. We have covered a long distance already, from the lively Greek coast to the sweltering street markets of Istanbul, but we have come to realise that it is at this point the adventure really begins: our minor overheating problems with the car will not be so trivial when the 50° temperatures of the Middle East set in.

The journey has been amazing and I feel we have already overcome a considerable amount, but in the back of my mind I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg.