World Record Run: Dakar to Moscow (April 22nd to April 25th)
At our final day in Moscow we were invited to the automotive show «AUTO GODA» (Russian “Car of the Year” show), where we had a short film presentation of our World Record Tour and where we announced our final timing data.
The final day of our World Record Run started near the border between Lithuania and Latvia, so we realized that we could be some hours ahead of our schedule. The main challenges that could destroy our plans were our last border crossing between Latvia and Russia, which often takes a lot of time, and low temperatures – about -1,5˚C, so roads could be icy.
There's not much to say about our time in France, but not because I don't like it. The problem is that we sprinted through it in less than 8 hours not stopping for anything. France has a magnificent highway system that they are constantly evolving, considered by the amount of roadworks on our way, but you can't see much behind the high walls that separate them from the world.
Second day of the run began for me exactly 24 hours after the start. Our car was crossing through Atlas mountains pass on a narrow road.
The first day of the world record tour began very early at 01:00 am, when we checked out from the hotel and went to the central part of the city of Dakar. Our starting point was a small square in front of the old hotel “Ville de Dakar”. There we met with Mr.Dam and his colleagues from Volkswagen office and a policeman on a motorbike, who would justify our departure time.
Scout Tour: From Moscow to Dakar (April 8th to April 25th)
At last we had the chance to sleep through the morning, but that doesn't mean that there was nothing to do on the last day before the start of the World Record Run Dakar2Moscow.
We started our way to Dakar from Saint-Louis early in the morning. But when we left our hotel, we were immediately stuck in the traffic jam before the main bridge “Pont Faidherbe”, which crosses the Senegal river and connects the historical part of the city with the new one. So we had time to admire the french architecture of Saint-Louis once more.
After all the formalities were settled down the previous day, the Team was ready to hit the road again and finally cross the border between Mauritania and Senegal, the last country on the scout tour and the first of the record run. But the border was a few hours drive away from Nouakchott.
On the second day of our stay in Nouakchott we decided to film more and take some pictures, which can define this city as a very extraordinary place even more. So we asked our guide Idoumou to show us something interesting. And he decided to come with us to the camel’s bazaar – the biggest one in Mauritania. Thousands of camels are here!
Today we were exploring the capital of Mauritania with our guide Idoumou. It turned out that you can get almost anything you need without leaving the comfort of an air-conditioned car. At every intersection and gas station are people who are willing to offer their services. Whether it's call cards, food or drinks – anything can be arranged by the wave of a hand just like in a fairytale.
At night we left El Aaiun and started our way to the Moroccan border. We had to drive about 700 km on the highway, crossing the desert. The more you go to the southern part, the less is there to see – except sand and sun. And it is very hot outside the car – our onboard computer recorded a maximum temperature of about 47,5°C! A crazy hot temperature!
Today we left Agadir and the landscape immediately changed to a desert. There is nothing for kilometers, except sand, stones, sun and the road. The distance between towns and villages becomes longer and longer. But the pavement is quite good and there is mobile connection to the Internet, so we can regularly update our blogs.
We spent the second day in Morocco in another big city - Agadir. We were pleased by the good condition of the Moroccan highways, so we made good progress driving to the south. Also we were glad to meet a german speaking taxi driver, who helped us making car to car shots of the Amarok. In the afternoon we met with the German Consul in Agadir.
After arriving in Tangier on the night of April 12th we spent about 2,5 hours on an excellent highway to Rabat, where we stayed for a night. On the morning of April 13th we had a very nice meeting at the Embassy of Germany in Morocco. It was a great honor for us having a very warm welcome from ambassador Volkmar Wenzel and his colleagues.
The day in Spain was very long and started at night, when we entered this last European country before coming to Africa. We had to drive on Spanish highways for a long time, from the northern part to the southern one. During our way to the port of Tarifa we saw many different landscapes, from fields to mountains, so we made some interesting shots of it.
We started our journey from Germany to France by refilling our fuel tanks in Mannheim. You know that we've installed two additional 140L tanks in our cargo box, so our total fuel volume is 360L and our range is about 2500 km. That's quite enough to cover the distance from this German city to the Spanish town of Tarifa, where we’ll cross the Mediterranean sea on our way to Africa.
Yesterday evening we entered Poland and went non-stop to Germany all night. It was a good practice of intensive driving, how we'll do it during the world record. Early in the morning we entered Germany and, of course, we were very pleased driving on Germany’s Autobahn – this is a real German’s honor!
On our second day of the scout tour we started in Latvian town Daugavpils, where we met our partner Pavel from the local Volkswagen dealer early in the morning. Pavel equipped our car with all the necessary car equipment and parts like two tires, ropes, ice-box, tools and a power converter.
We started our scout tour of «Amarok Dakar2Moscow» near the junction between Moscow Ring Road and M9 Highway at the «Moscow» sign at 7 am. This will also be the place where we will finish our world record drive, when we’ll return to the Russian capital at the end of April. So we made some photos there and drove directly to the border between Russia and Latvia.
We are happy to start our new project «Amarok Dakar2Moscow» in the capital of Russia! We made a little presentation about our project during the Russian Car of the Year show «Auto Goda» and gave some interviews for journalists about our tour. Then we went to the Red Square, the «heart» of Russia, to make some photos for the press. Sadly, it was rainy at the beginning.