GERMANY’S LONG-DISTANCE SPRINTER

Rainer Zietlow—Specialist for world motoring records

Fast and far—for Rainer Zietlow these words go hand in hand. Hailing from Mannheim in south-western Germany, he has professionalized his passion for the automobile by setting up his own company, Challenge4, and has gone on to break one long-distance driving record after another. His latest achievement: a Eurasia tour in which he covered 15,145 kilometers in record time.

From the southern tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas, to Norway’s North Cape—and at a record-breaking pace. Chile’s Atacama Desert: a trip in a standard vehicle to the “Ojos del Salvador,” the world’s highest volcano, led to a first Guinness Book of World Records entry for the ascent. A 16,000-kilometer jaunt from Moscow to Kamchatka resulted in another Guinness World Record—and these are just a few of Rainer Zietlow’s world records. It goes almost without saying that 2016 saw him on the road again. And not just any road: last year’s tour took Rainer Zietlow’s three-person team all the way from Magadan, the most easterly city in Russia connected to the country’s road network, all the way to Lisbon. The first part of the trip was the trickiest—3,000 kilometers of the still partly unpaved Kolyma Highway.

A new world record

Other stops on the continent-spanning route included Lake Baikal and Minsk, followed by comparatively mundane stretches through Poland, Germany, France, and Spain. In the end, the team pulled into Lisbon after just six days and nine hours on the road. The reward for the three heroes: a new world record that cut more than two days off the previous time. “Despite racking up several Guinness and long-distance records, I’m not even thinking about quitting,” declares Rainer Zietlow. “In fact, as soon as I finished this tour, I was already thinking about the next one. What can I say? Driving is my life!” This time, too, Rainer Zietlow was after more than just a new record; just as with past tours he was also eager to donate ten cents per kilometer driven— that’s €1,515 in total—to SOS-Kinderdorf, a German children’s charity. This time the amount went to Marina Gorka, a SOS-Kinderdorf children’s home near Minsk. The multiple world record holder had already been a guest there during a scout tour in June 2016: “I’ve been a proud SOS-Kinderdorf donor ever since 2005. Before or after every new world record, I always take the time to visit the local SOS-Kinderdorf I’m supporting,” explains Zietlow.