Giovedì, 20 Settembre 2018
ROME

Fastest drive across Africa set by Fiat Panda

English
© ANSA

Rome, February 15 - The Guinness World Book of
Records added a 2012 Fiat Panda to its pages this week after it
clocked the fastest overland trip from Cape Town to London ever
recorded.
Driven by British endurance racers Philip Young and Paul
Brace, the Italian minicar covered the 10,000-mile
transcontinental haul in 10 days, 13 hours and 30 minutes, a
full day ahead of the previous record set in 2010 by a team
driving a Land Rover.
Drivers said the Panda's light weight and fuel-efficient
engine gave it an edge over the trucks and SUVs favored by most
trans-African racers.
'With a 600-mile range from our fuel tanks, and capable of
covering the 11,000 miles on one set of tyres, going light
(offered) an advantage against the heavier Land Rovers that have
to stop more often,' said the drivers in a blog they kept from
the road.
Had the Panda got stuck in the mud, it would have been easy
to push out the racers said. With a little help, they could have
picked it up and carried it if they'd needed to.
Designed with Italy's narrow, cobblestoned streets in mind,
the Panda also proved much better adapted to weaving through the
bumper-to-bumper traffic in cities like Cairo and Nairobi.
'The car that Autocar journalists voted as their top city
car has just proved itself invincible at punching through gaps
of African cities,' blogged the couple after leaving a traffic
jam in Zambia's capital of Lusaka behind them.
The couple travelled light, taking almost no luggage or
spare parts with them except for an extra fan belt and throttle
cable.
But no spare parts were needed as the car blazed its way
across Africa and then Europe without even needing to have its
oil topped up.
A tyre change after driving over a patch of broken glass in
Egypt amounted to the most significant repairs required for the
whole journey.
Before setting off, the Fiat underwent a few minor
alterations to help it contend with the potholes and dust of
African roads.
They also swapped out the driver's seat with a cozier one
from an old Volkswagon and put a thick mattress in the back, so
the drivers could sleep on the road.
Along the way, the Fiat encountered every kind of terrain
conceivable from the marshlands along the Zambeze river to the
deserts of Egypt and Sudan.
Ironically, the couple suffered its worst setback in Italy
when a snow storm forced them to head up the Adriatic Coast
bypassing Naples and Rome.
On February 11 at 5:30 GMT, the Panda rolled past the
finish line at London's Marble Arch to clinch the world record.
In the over 31 years since the Panda first went into
production, Fiat has sold over 65 million of the cars globally
making it one of the most successful models in the company's
history.
From its humble origins as a no-frills economy car, the
Panda evolved into all-purpose city car and miniature SUV.
It won the European Car of The Year award in 2004 and, in
2012, British television show Top Gear named the Panda 4x4 its
pick for SUV of the year.

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