Some follow-up news on the Melbourne to St Petersburg run – Rainer Zietlow and the Challenge4 team completed their record-breaking trip from Australia to Russia in a Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI on August 13, with the SUV arriving at its destination after spending 17 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes non-stop on the road.

The 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 (the surname might sound familiar, yes), travelled over 23,000 kilometres through nine countries: Australia, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, China, Kazakhstan and finally Russia.

The run was supposed to take 16 days to accomplish, but unpredictable road and weather conditions in Indonesia added one and a half days to the planned duration of the journey. Nonetheless, the team managed to set a new country record for crossing the island state in just over five days.

Meanwhile, the mechanically-standard Touareg, save larger tyres and heavy duty suspension as well as an enlarged fuel tank, performed admirably, despite the odd mishap (a broken radiator) and less than ideal fuel. Still, “the Touareg delivered peak performance, despite the poor quality of diesel in the Asian countries,” Zeitlow said.

The entire trip was offset by Volkswagen Group Australia via the not-for-profit offset provider, Carbon Neutral. As for Challenge4, it’s set to provide a donation of 10 Euro Cents to Plan International for each kilometre driven on the route.