The ultimate long-distance motoring marathon gets underway in London next month. The 16,800km London to Sydney Marathon has attracted 95 competitors from 16 countries. Former world rally champion Hannu Mikkola will lead the way on June 3 after being flagged off by Andrew Cowan, the man who won the original marathon in a Hillman Hunter. Mikkola will be followed by another world champion, Sweden's Stig Blomqvist in a V8-engined Ford Capri Perana. The epic long distance event will cross 14 countries - England, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia. All cars are pre-1971 classics and two giant Russian Antonov aircraft will air-lift them across the oceans. The finish - on July 2 - is at the world's most famous Opera House. For the competition category, there will be 59 special stages totalling over 1,300kms. On these stages, up to 88 kms long and which are closed to the public, the cars race against the clock timed to the second. The touring challenge, however, is a non-competitive event for modern cars. It follows the same route as the competition event and is designed to provide a motoring adventure for those who do not wish to pit themselves against the clock in a rally car.