Adventurer takes just 17 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes to make his way from Melbourne, Australia to St. Petersburg, Russia.

“Exhausted, but over the moon!“ That’s how Rainer Zietlow and the Challenge4 team feel after their record breaking trip from Melbourne to St. Petersburg. The long-distance adventurer reached his destination on 13 August, 2012 at 11pm local time after spending 17 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes non-stop on the road in his Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI.

The offroad enthusiast and his team departed Melbourne in late July to personally deliver a message from the mayor of Melbourne to the mayor of its twin city, St. Petersburg. Zietlow and his teammates, Marius Biela and Vladimir Gagarin, travelled over 23,000 kilometres through nine countries: Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, Kazakhstan and finally Russia.

Limited extra equipment, such as an enlarged fuel tank, assisted the Touareg to perform extremely well under challenging conditions. “The Touareg delivered peak performance despite the poor quality of diesel in the Asian countries“, explained excited Zietlow after the trip. The unpredictable road and weather conditions in Indonesia initially added one and a half days to the planned duration of the journey, yet the adventurers managed to set a new country record for crossing the island state in just over five days.

Efficiency also played a major role in this extraordinary tour: The fuel-efficient 3.0l V6 TDI engine placed Rainer Zietlow’s team in an excellent positon. The off-road Volkswagen consumed 30 percent less fuel and emitted about 25 percent less CO2 than comparable petrol vehicles in its class.

“What an incredible achievement.“ declared Volkswagen Group Australia’s Managing Director, Anke Koeckler.

“On behalf of all of us at Volkswagen, I would like to congratulate the Challenge4 team on completing such an arduous journey in a record time. The Touareg was well and truly put through its pace.“

The entire trip was offset by Volkswagen Group Australia via the not-for-profit offset provider, Carbon Neutral. Additionally, Challenge4 will providea donation of 10 Euro Cents for each kilometre driven from Melbourne to St. Petersburg to Plan International.

Further information as well as fascinating images and video footage taken during the trip can be found at

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