Continued snow pushes start time back

While North America swelters through record-breaking summer temperatures, the world’s southernmost city has become a veritable winter wonderland. Sure, there are worse places to be stuck than the beautiful city of Ushuaia, Argentina, but Rainer Zietlow and his team are anxious to hit the road in their Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel and kick off the TDI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge.
After another 48-hour delay, they’ll get to do just that early tomorrow morning.

Here’s the latest from Rainer:

July 1st, Ushuaia, Argentina
Finally, some relief. Last night, our sponsor, Kuehne & Nagel from Santiago, Chile, contacted us with good news. They had spoken with a customs agent at the Andes Pass, the main route connecting Argentina and Chile. He informed them that the snow has stopped falling and that the Pass has been reopened. Twenty additional snowplows have been organized to clear the Pass at 3500 meters above sea level.
The even better news is that now the weather is supposed to be sunny for the next five days, so we can definitely begin the tour on Saturday, July 2nd, 2011 at 4 am.  Things are getting exciting again!

We know that Rainer and his team have been itching to get on the road, so we’ll give them a few days of uninterrupted driving before his next road report. Be sure to check back Tuesday, July 5th for his update from the Pan-American Highway. And remember: you can follow Rainer’s adventures online at, where you’ll find a map and live streaming video to show the Touareg’s real-time progress on the route, as well as photos and videos documenting the journey from start to finish.

Tell us: have your travel plans ever been delayed due to weather?
Rainer’s team is driving a 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel. The Touareg’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 TDI® Clean Diesel engine and 4MOTION® all wheel drive (AWD) system deliver the performance and durability required to tackle the many twists and turns of the Pan-American Highway. The engine provides an impressive maximum torque of 406 lbs.-ft. at 1,750 to 2,250 rpm while producing 225 horsepower at 3,500 to 4,000 rpm.
In order to account for the demands of the TDI-Panamericana Endurance Challenge, Rainer’s Touareg has been modified to include:

  • Innovative Inmarsat satellite technology for live communication, even in the most remote areas
  • The largest tires that fit the Touareg to better address bumpy roads throughout South America
  • An additional 300-liter fuel tank to extend the distance the vehicle can travel between refueling