While the Cayennes are refueled, we scour the snack bar for staples of the Australian road: Chiko (a sort of large, chicken-flavored egg roll), fruit (fresh or dried), candy bar (love that Cherry Ripe, but some prefer Violet Crumble), and bottles of water. As we make our selections, the locals speculate about the vehicles camouflaged in black-matte cladding and angular, taped stripes.
"I know what they are," the lady at the counter proclaims. "They're those new Land Rover Freelanders," she says, proud of her automotive knowledge.
Upon hearing this news, Porsche test- team co-leader and trail boss Peter Hass beams. "So, the camouflage works," he says, admitting there was a debate about how much disguise the Cayennes needed just a few months before the start of production.
But Hass' smile immediately turns upside down. After being refueled, one of the Cayennes won't start. It's pushed under a tree, its hood raised, dashboard panels removed, and laptop computers hooked into various sensors. Codes are punched into keyboards, then more codes. But the car still won't start.
For some reason, the anti-theft system has locked the steering wheel and disabled the ignition. As we wonder if Cayenne owners might be glad to know the anti-theft system is so good that even Porsche engineers cannot hot-wire the car, Hass is on the satellite phone calling Germany, where it's 3 a.m. After some consultation, it appears the problem may be hardware, not software. New parts will be sent, but until they arrive, the car must be towed. No worries, mate, she'll be apples.
"Usually, when you carry something, you don't need it," Juergen Kern says. "You need what you didn't bring. But fortunately, this worked quite well."