A three-man team will set off from Melbourne in a VW Touareg today, aiming for a world record in a trek taking them from the Victorian capital to St Petersburg, Russia.
They aim to cover the 23,000km between the two cities in just 16 days, alternating drivers around the clock.
The team is made up of experienced German adventurer Ranier Zeitlow, Russian journalist Vladimir Gagarin, and German photographer Marius Biela.
Nine countries will be traversed along the route, which is expected to include all possible climates, with the Touareg only stationary when crossing seas by boat.
Zeitlow has already scouted the entire route in reverse to minimise the risk of delay or detours along the way.
The team's weapon of choice is a specially-prepared Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI, fitted with larger tyres, roll cage, racing seats, 300 litre auxiliary fuel tank, and satellite communication system.
All provisions will be carried on board to facilitate the team’s ambition to only stop for fuel.
This same Touareg was used by Zeitlow in 2011 to set a new world record of 11 days, 17 hours, driving the 25,000km Panamericana road between Argentina and Alaska.
The challenge will also benefit Plan International, a childrens’ rights charity in Laos. Zetlow will donate €0.10 (AU$0.12) for every kilometer traveled.
Further significance of the route is that Melbourne and St Petersburg have been sister cities since 1989.
The team’s progress can be followed via live GPS tracking at: www.touareg-russtralia.com
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