Published on October 16th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Volkswagen Touareg Triumphs In Harsh African Challenge
When the long distance driving record holder Rainer Zietlow from Mannheim in Germany left the northernmost point in Europe, Nordkapp in Norway on Sunday, 21 September on his way to southernmost point in Africa in Cape Agulhas, he primarily wanted to prove the robustness of his Volkswagen Touareg. Team Zietlow had set a target of covering 17000 km through 18 countries in under 10 days.
Unfortunately Team Zietlow’s world record drive attempt was untimely interrupted on Saturday, 27 September in Iringa, Tanzania (about 450km west of Dar es Salaam) after a head-on collision with a local car. Despite a two-week delay, the Touareg reached its final destination at Cape Agulhas on Sunday evening, 11 October. Luckily Rainer Zietlow and his crew of Marius Biela and Mathias Prillwitz were not injured in the accident. “Nobody was injured but when we looked at the car, our first thought was that this was the end of our record attempt,” recalled Zietlow.
Once it was established that the drivetrain was not damaged and that the Touareg could be repaired with Volkswagen Genuine Parts in Tanzania, a decision was taken to continue the journey to Cape Agulhas in a revised record time.
Zietlow, who also hold the records for the fastest time in a car for the Panamericana as well as the world record drive from Melbourne to St Petersburg in Russia, now also holds the world record drive from the northernmost point in Europe to the southernmost point in Africa. Despite the accident in Tanzania, Team Zietlow’s record of 21 days 16 hours and 36 seconds bettered the 1984 record achieved in 28 days. When one discounts the accident repair time, the team completed the nearly 17 000 km distance in only 8 days 10 hours and 26 minutes.
During the preparation for his world record drive attempt from the northernmost point in Europe to southernmost point in Africa in June this year, Rainer and his team also completed an officially timed drive attempt from Cape Agulhas to the Nordkapp in Norway in nine days.
“We undertook this world record drive attempt to test and ensure that such a record drive was possible. We also wanted to have a back-up plan in case something went wrong during the officially publicised event as it unfortunately happened in Tanzania,” explained Zietlow.
Zietlow’s latest world record and his misfortune in Tanzania have proven the robustness of Touareg to overcome tough challenges in Africa. Next Wednesday (22 October), Team Zietlow will plant 600 trees in Soweto with the help of Food & Tree for Africa. These trees will make the entire “Touareg Cape to Cape” project CO2 and climate neutral.