Rainer Zietlow

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Rainer Zietlow is a German world record holder, long distance driver and owner of the Challenge4 agency in Mannheim, Germany. Four of his long distance records are or were officially registered at Guinness World Records.


In 1988 Rainer Zietlow crossed the Sahara to Niger in a Mercedes 230. In 1990 he crossed the Sahara to Cameroon in a Toyota Land Cruiser BJ 55. In 1996 Rainer Zietlow drove around the world in a Land Rover Defender 110 in six months.[1]


In 2004 Rainer Zietlow founded the agency Challenge4 GmbH.[2] It specializes in the planning and realization of international long-distance and record-breaking tours. Since 2005, the agency has run 19 successful projects.[3] In doing so, it prefers to use Volkswagen Group.

SOS Children's Village

With a few exceptions, Rainer Zietlow has supported the international children's aid organization SOS Children's Villages since 2004 with each of his world record or long-distance tours by handing over a donation during a village visit on site.[4][5] Over 40,000 € have now been donated.

World record and long distance rides (2005 to 2021)

Year Tour Team
2005 Guinness World Record for reaching a height of 6,081 m (19,951 ft) at Nevado Ojos del Salado in Chile's Atacama Desert with a standard VW Touareg[6]. Rainer Zietlow, Ronald Bormann, Ingo Barensche, Matthias Merz, Florian Hilpert, Steffen Schmidt, Stefan Urlass, Hans-Jürgen Cordes
2006/2007 Volkswagen Caddy EcoFuel. This included crossing Australia for the first time in a natural gas vehicle that was not registered in Australia. Distance: around 45,000 km (28,000 mi)[7]. Rainer Zietlow, Franz Januczewicz Florian Hilpert, Falk Gunold
2007 Long-distance trip from Berlin, Germany, to Bangkok, Thailand, in a natural gas-powered Volkswagen Caddy EcoFuel. This included crossing China for the first time in a natural gas vehicle that was not registered in China. Distance: around 22,000 km (14,000 mi)[8]. Rainer Zietlow, Franz Januczewicz
2009 Visiting all 800 natural gas filling stations within Germany in 80 days in a natural gas-powered Volkswagen Passat TSI EcoFuel. Distance: around 23,700 km (14,700 mi)[9]. Rainer Zietlow, Franz Januczewicz
2009 First crossing of the Eurasian continent from the Atlantic (Cabo da Roca) via Russia to the Pacific (Tokyo) in a natural gas-powered Volkswagen Caddy Maxi EcoFuel. In the process, Japan was crossed for the first time in a natural gas vehicle that was not registered in Japan. Distance: around 15,000 km (9,300 mi)[10] Rainer Zietlow, Franz Januczewicz Benny Wagener, Roman Huber, Leopold Freund
2010 Deadhorse, Alaska, in a natural gas-powered Volkswagen Caddy Maxi EcoFuel. This was the first time the Pan-American Highway was driven continuously by a natural gas vehicle. Distance: around 35,000 km (22,000 mi)[11]. Rainer Zietlow, Marius Biela
2011 Cartagena, Colombia, to Panama City, Panama. Distance: around 23,000 km (14,000 mi) in 11 days and 17 hours[11][12]. Rainer Zietlow, Marius Biela, Carlos Fernandez
2012 Dilli, East Timor, and shipped between Indonesia and Malaysia on a wooden boat. Distance: around 23,000 km (14,000 mi) in 17 days and 18 hours[13]. Rainer Zietlow, Marius Biela, Vadim Gagarin
2013 Guinness World Record for the "Amarok Polar Expedition" a 60-day journey in Russia from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky with three converted Volkswagen Amaroks as part of a promotional tour for the Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014. Distance: around 16,000 km (9,900 mi)[14] Rainer Zietlow, Gannadij Paramonov, Alexey Vorobiev, Alexander Nesterov, Andrey Ivanov, Ilya Novikov, Alexey Simakin, Rafael Usmanov, Denis Solomovich
2014 Long-distance trip from Norway to South Africa in a Volkswagen Touareg. Distance: around 18,000 km (11,000 mi)[15]. Rainer Zietlow, Marius Biela, Matthias Prillwitz
2015 Cape to Cape world record drive from the southernmost point of South Africa, Cape Agulhas|Cap Agulhas, to the northernmost point of Europe, Nordkapp, in a Volkswagen Touareg. The vehicle and the team were flown from Jordan to Turkey. Distance: around 17,500 km (10,900 mi) in 9 days and 4 hours[16][17]. Rainer Zietlow, Marius Biela, Sam Roach
2016 World record drive from the easternmost place in Eurasia that can be reached by highway, Magadan, Russia, to the westernmost point in Eurasia, Cabo da Roca, Portugal, in a Volkswagen Touareg. Distance: around 15,100 km (9,400 mi) in 6 days and 9 hours[18]. Rainer Zietlow, Marius Biela, Petr Bakanov
2017 Italiy, via Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Iran in a Volkswagen Tiguan. Distance: around 12,600 km (7,800 mi) in 5 days and 18 hours[19]. Rainer Zietlow, Petr Bakanov, Dmitriy Makarov
2018 Solvakia, to the Volkswagen Touareg world premiere in Beijing, China, in a Volkswagen Touareg Prototype. Distance: around 16,500 km (10,300 mi)[20][21]. Rainer Zietlow, Rodion Baranov, Alexandre Pogodin
2018 Long-distance drive from Beijing, China, back to Wolfsburg, Germany, with two Volkswagen Touaregs and accompanying journalists. Distance: around 16,500 km (10,300 mi)[22]. Rainer Zietlow, Rodion Baranov
2019 Second world record drive on the Pan-American Highway from Deadhorse, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, with a Volkswagen Amarok. Vehicle and team were flown over the Darien jungle from Panama City to Medellín, Colombia. Distance: around 23,000 km (14,000 mi) in 10 days and 19 hours[23]. Rainer Zietlow, Marius Biela, Nelson Scarabela
2020 World record for the longest distance driven within one country (Germany) in an all-electric vehicle, the Volkswagen ID.3. Distance: about 28,000 km (17,000 mi) in 65 days with stops at 830 Volkswagen dealers and 650 charging stations over 60 kW[24][25]. Rainer Zietlow, Dominic Brüner
2021 USA) by an all-electric vehicle, the Volkswagen ID.4. Distance around 58,000 km (36,000 mi) in 97 days with stops at 628 American Volkswagen dealers[26][27][28]. Rainer Zietlow, Derek Collins


  1. Coburger Tageblatt, ed. (1997-02-22), In 210 Tagen ans „Ende der Welt“ (in German){{citation}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  2. "Challenge4 GmbH". challenge4.de. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  3. "Challenge4 GmbH – Projekte". challenge4.de. Retrieved 2022-02-01.
  4. "Team Zietlow spendet bei Erdgas-Fahrt für SOS-Kinderdorf" (in Deutsch). 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  5. "Chalenge4 GmbH – Charity". myheimat.de. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  6. "The Altitude World Record Holder/The Volkswagen Touareg Conquers the Summit". NextCar. 2005. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  7. "Around the world with CNG". autoservicepraxis.de. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  8. "From Berlin to Bangkok with CNG". Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  9. "From Lisbon to Tokyo with CNG". challenge4.de. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  10. Sebastian Viehmann (2009-12-09). "Sushi und Sibirien". stern.de (in Deutsch). G+J Medien GmbH. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lutz Algermissel (2010-03-29). "Mit dem Erdgas-Auto die Panamericana entlang". welt.de (in Deutsch). Axel Springer SE. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  12. "EcoFuel TransAmerica | CHALLENGE4". www.challenge4.de. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  13. "Mit dem VW Touareg in Rekordzeit von Melbourne nach St. Petersburg". auto.de. auto.de Media GmbH. 2012-08-20. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  14. "From Moscow to Kamchatka". CHALLENGE4 GmbH. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  15. "In Rekordzeit vom Nordkap zum Südzipfel Afrikas" (in Deutsch). 2014-10-14. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  16. Dana Packert (2015-09-22). "Von Kap zu Kap in 9 Tagen, 4 Stunden und 8 Minuten" (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  17. "Touareg CapetoCape 2.0 | CHALLENGE4". www.challenge4.de. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  18. "Team Zietlow: Vierte Weltrekord-Fahrt im Touareg". motors-tv.de (in Deutsch). 2016-07-14. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  19. "From Shanghai to Venice". challenge4.de. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  20. Sylvia Telge (2018-05-04). "Mit dem neuen Touareg nach Peking". waz-online.de (in Deutsch). Wolfsburger Allegmeine Zeitung. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  21. "Touareg Bratislava 2 Beijing". www.touareg-bratislava2beijing.com. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  22. "From Beijing to Wolfsburg". challenge4.de. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  23. "Proyecto Panamericana: Rainer Zietlow y su Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI establecieron un nuevo récord mundial". 16valvulas.com.ar (in español). 2019-07-15. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  24. Franziska Albrecht (2020-12-04). "Elektro-VW ID.3 fährt 28,000 km (17,000 mi) in 2 Monaten: Das ist das Fazit des Mega-Tests". efahrer.chip.de. BurdaForward GmbH. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  25. "ID.3 Germany Tour | CHALLENGE4". www.challenge4.de. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  26. "Longest journey by electric vehicle (non-solar) in a single country". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  27. "Mit dem ID.4 quer durch die USA", Auto Motor und Sport (in German), Stuttgart: Motor Presse Stuttgart GmbH & Co. KG, no. Heft 2/2022, January 2022{{citation}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  28. Sandro Kipar (2021-11-11). "Weltrekord: In 97 Tagen 56.000 Kilometer reinelektrisch durch die USA". next-mobility.de. Retrieved 2022-02-03.

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