The ancient Silk Road, which runs from Shanghai to Venice, is a good 12,000 kilometers long. Covering this distance in record time was Rainer Zietlow’s goal when he set off on the journey with a small team in August 2017.
The vehicle for this record attempt was the new Volkswagen Tiguan TSI with 150 hp, which is produced at Volkswagen Kaluga. The production vehicle was only slightly modified for the tour. Apart from an additional 150-liter fuel tank, LED high beams at the front and stronger springs on the rear axle, it had no modifications.
On board with world record driver Rainer Zietlow were the two Russians Petr Bakanov, a journalist from Auto Mail.Ru, and Dmitriy Makarov, a professional photographer. They documented the attempt to cover the distance from Shanghai to Venice in the footsteps of the famous Marco Polo in a new record time of less than six days. It was to become the seventh long-distance world record for Rainer Zietlow.
The ancient Silk Road crosses Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. The most exciting and difficult part is the kilometers through China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran, where there are many border crossings, a desert climate, bumpy gravel roads and deep potholes.
The Tiguan and the team were therefore hard pressed. After 16,600 kilometers and only 5 days and 18 hours, they finally reached Venice in Italy, setting a new record.
Rainer Zietlow has been supporting the SOS Children’s Villages with his projects since 2005. This time, they visited an Children’s Village in Samarqand/Uzbekistan, where Rainer Zietlow personally handed over the donation of 10 euro cents per kilometer driven.