Five finalists from around the world battle it out to become the globe’s best code-cracker in the largest ever online competition visited by over 1.2 million people

8 Jun 2006

The UK finalist is youngest of the five hoping to win a prize worth over €200,000 plus Eurostar travel for life
Eurostar, the high-speed train service and Global Partner of The Da Vinci Code movie, today (7 June) revealed the names of the five finalists for the biggest ever online promotional competition. Over 1.2 million unique visitors went online to "Join the Eurostar Quest" and over 20,000 people from around the world completed the Grand Prize Puzzle from which the five sharpest code-cracker finalists have won through to the historic Grand Final.
The five finalists from each of the territories, none of them older than 30 years of age, are:
1. Eleanor Colling (22), Southampton, UK2. Olivier Klein (28), Schweighouse sur Moder, France3. Sébastien Delvaux (24), Angleur, Belgium4. Christopher Williams(30), Sydney, Australia5. Anjana Prasad (26), Chicago, USA
The finalists will arrive in London on 14th June to sample some unique Da Vinci experiences including a private tour of Middle Temple and will stay at the luxurious Claridge's Hotel. On 15th June they will travel to Paris on the world record breaking The Da Vinci Code Eurostar, in exclusive, Leisure Select coaches. At the famous The Ritz, Paris at 16h00 (EMT) in what will be a thrilling and tense live finale the five contestants will have to crack the final puzzle. This unique event will be overseen by an independent judge, national and international press. Although there is only one ultimate winner, the four runners-up will also receive fabulous prizes.
The winner will receive Eurostar travel for life, deluxe accommodation at The Ritz Paris and Claridge's, London for five years; €180,000 to spend in London and Paris; €10,000 to spend in a "behind closed doors" shopping experience at Galeries Lafayette, Paris; €10,000 to spend as a VIP at Harrods, London, with a personal shopper; and other bespoke experiences in London and Paris tailored to the winner's needs. These include exclusive river cruises on the Seine and the Thames and helicopter flights over these wonderful cities. They will be able to enjoy the best seats in the house at the theatre, opera or ballet and attend a whole range of sporting events from football to horse-racing depending on their personal likes and dislikes.
In the fiercely fought, month-long competition different countries have edged out in front on different days. However, it was France which triumphantly trounced all the others and emerged as the country with the most successful code-crackers, followed in order by the UK, the USA, Belgium and finally Australia/New Zealand.
Eurostar's Director of Communications, Simon Montague, said: "Join the Quest has been an amazingly successful online promotion and has vastly exceeded our targets. There is no doubt that the success of this global competition is directly linked to our mutually beneficial partnership with The Da Vinci Code movie and film makers Sony.
We are seeing a substantial increase in sales on Eurostar to both Paris and London and we are delighted that more and more tourists from around the world want to explore these exciting cities. It was exactly our hope that more people would come to discover these great destinations."
· ends -
The Finalists:
UK - Eleanor Colling, 22, is single and a Recreation Assistant from Southampton. She has a degree in Oceanography and her hobbies include swimming and sub-aqua. Eleanor thinks the "Join the Quest" competition was "appealing and fun."
FRANCE - Olivier Klein, 28, is single and an IT Technician from Schweighouse sur Moder. His hobbies include playing the piano, diving, rambling, music and films. Olivier thinks "the essence of the book was well replicated and that the puzzles were varied and needed lots of thought and research - a captivating adventure".
BELGIUM - Sébastien Delvaux, 24, is presently single but will be getting married a few days after the Grand Final. He is an Industrial Engineer and lives in Angleur. His hobbies include football, cycling, power-walking, music, films and computing. This was the first time he has entered a competition and he says he is delighted to have got through to the Final.
AUSTRALIA - Christopher Williams, 30, is married with a one-year-old daughter, and lives in Sydney. He is a manager of a branch of STA Travel, who loves travelling and his hobbies include reading, music, watching Aussie-Rules and playing field hockey. Christopher admits he is "a bit of a puzzle nerd". Apparently, it was his wife who started playing the competition and he started doing it for fun. The fact that it wasn't over in 5mins was, he says, a really good thing!
USA - Anjana Prasad, 26, is single and an Attorney at Law and lives in Chicago. Her hobbies include reading, travelling, camping and hiking. This will be the very first time she has visited the UK and France. Anjana thought the competition "incorporated skill and learning components and was not based on luck which made participating in it challenging."
The Eurostar Quest Partners are:
Virgin Atlantic - will carry prizewinners to London from around the worldSony Ericsson - will supply mobile phones to winnersSony PSP - will supply consoles to winnersClaridge's, London - will supply luxury hotel accommodationThe Ritz, Paris - will supply luxury hotel accommodation and host The Grand FinalTransworld/Random House - will supply copies of the Illustrated Collector's Edition of The Da Vinci Code™ novel2K/Take Two - will supply The Da Vinci Code™ video game for PS2 to winnersDecca Records - will supply the soundtrack of The Da Vinci CodeHarrods, London - will supply a personal shopper and VIP treatment for the Eurostar Quest winnerGaleries Lafayette, Paris - who will close their store for the Eurostar Quest winner to spend in privacy
The Eurostar Quest was conceived by integrated marketing agency, space, and created by digital creative agency de-construct.
Editor's Notes:
Eurostar is the fast train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Avignon, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar has won the title of "World's Leading Rail Service" for the last eight years at the World Travel Awards.
3. In autumn 2007, Eurostar will switch its UK operations to London's St. Pancras International. Journey times will fall further with London-Paris only 2h 15m; London-Brussels 1h 51m and London-Lille just 1h20m.
4. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest customer.
5. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com, call 08705 186186 or contact your travel agent.
6. Columbia Pictures, part of the Columbia Tristar Motion Picture Group, is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found at www.sonypictures.com