Veteran endurance race driver Rainer Zietlow and crew have embarked on a Journey from Melbourne, Australia to St. Petersburg, Russia, driving a 2012 Volkswagen Touareg TDI between the two sister cities. The trip will take the crew across multiple time and climate zones, challenging terrain, and altitude changes.
From left to right, Vadim Gagarin, Rainer Zietlow and Marius Biela with the Touareg.
Aside from a few modifications for safety such as a roll cage and extended-range fuel tank, the Touareg TDI has a factory 3.0-liter TDI V-6. Volkswagen claims the TDI engine is 30 percent more fuel efficient with 25 percent lower CO2 output than gasoline-powered competitors.
As part of the journey, Zietlow and his team will deliver a letter from the mayor of Melbourne to the top city official of St. Petersburg in the fashion of the old dispatch riders. 2012 is the 175th anniversary of the naming of Melbourne and the southern Australian city has been sister cities with St. Petersburg since 1989.
This isn't the first adventure with the Volkswagen Touareg TDI that Zietlow has embarked on. Last year, Zietlow set a record for driving the Pan-American highway from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, at the tip of South America, in less than 12 days.
Those interested in following the journey can stay updated at www.touareg-russtralia.com.