MotionInsightRainer Zietlow: Wheels of Adventure

Rainer Zietlow: Wheels of Adventure

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For world-renowned adventurer rainer Zietlow, there’s nothing like being on the open road with a reliable, robust vehicle that matches his own relentless spirit.page36image27560

Adventurer at Heart

Born in Brunswick, Germany in 1969, world-famous explorer and navigator Rainer Zietlow always has ample taste for adventure. When asked why he likes long-distance drives so much, Zietlow nonchalantly remarked, “It always feels great to be on the road, going on road adventures and discovering new things along the way.”

Since his youth, Zietlow has had a personal passion for the automotive world. Endurance driving, in particular, is a niche that most caught his attention. “I was greatly inspired by a European world record driver back in the 1970s. Since then, I began to train myself in terms of both physical strength and mental endurance, ensuring that I could endure the toughest conditions and prepare myself for all possible obstacles on the road.”

Now a highly experienced, world- class endurance driver and adventurer, Zietlow constantly expands his horizons and pushes his limits by taking on daunting challenges. He owns an automotive agency based in Mannheim, Germany called Challenge4 GmbH.

as a prolific achiever who likes to turn vision into action, Zietlow and the Challenge4 team have set four world records since 2005. according to Zietlow, this was only the beginning. one of these world-renowned achievements was the new world record achievement for driving the Panamericana road from argentina to alaska in just 11 days and 17 hours.


From Melbourne to St. Petersburg on Wheels

Much like the three pilgrims who travelled from afar, Rainer Zietlow, accompanied by two of his most trusted companions, Marius Biela and vladimir Gagarin, covered 23,000 kilometers in a sturdy, highly-customized volkswagen Touareg v6 TDI.

The journey from Melbourne, australia to St. Petersburg, Russia was made late last year in a world record-breaking time of a little over 17 days. assigned a “mission” to deliver a letter and gift from the lord Mayor of Melbourne to the Governor of St. Petersburg, the team drove virtually non-stop through australia, East Timor, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, laos, China, Kazakhstan and Russia over a period of 17 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes.

Automotive enthusiasts around the world followed this journey closely as the team effectively drove 24 hours a day, stopping only to refuel or when crossing by ferry.

as team leader and head driver, Zietlow did everything in his power to make sure they broke the record, including driving far longer than the planned five-hour shifts. “I really wouldn’t recommend this, but at one point, I drove 16hoursstraight.Theoreticallyweshould switch every 5 hours, but I always end up driving for 8 hours.”

The time-pressed journey was not without obstacles. according to Zietlow, “the most challenging aspect of this road adventure was that we were challenged by one of the most strenuous driving conditions and extreme climate.”

However, thanks to lengthy physical and mental preparations, accoutrement of an outstandingly tough vehicle, solid teamwork and a number of supportive sponsors, the team completed a new world record when they arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia on august 13, 2012 at 11pm.

The mechanically-standard Toua- reg, by dint of its enlarged tires and heavy-duty suspension – as well as an enlarged fuel tank – performed admirably despite having braved some of the world’s most unfavorable terrain, which included unpredictable road and weather conditions in Indonesia, heavy mud and rain in laos, the harsh deserts of Kazakhstan, and much more.


A Commendable Undertaking

Zietlow is also a man of vision looking to do his part to make the world a better place. as such, the world record journey stems from a noble cause. as part of a goodwill mission, the Challenge4 team donated 10 Euro cents for every kilometer driven from Melbourne, australia to St. Petersburg, Russia. Proceeds went to Plan International, a charity organization fighting for children’s rights in laos. To date, the team has donated 2,300 Euro to Plan International.

Having bested some of the harshest climate the world has to offer, Zietlow relished every second of the experience. “We are all still amazed by the diversity and beauty of the countries which we had travelled through.”

Moreover, it doesn’t look like Zietlow and Challenge4 is going to slow down anytime soon. Regarding his next grand undertaking, the ambitious adventurer told us that he’s “already looking forward to the next road adventure to Sochi 2014 Winter olympics and China in 2014, which you will definitely be hearing more about soon.”