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FIAT Panda Completes Non-stop 16,000 Kilometre Journey for Charity

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LONDON – Feb 14, 2013: The outright world record for driving non-stop from Cape Town to London was smashed on Monday night (11th February) by two very daring British drivers and one very reliable Fiat Panda.

Two adventurers, Philip Young and Paul Brace set off on a gruelling 10,000-mile (16,000km) trek on February 1st with the intention of raising money for the charity Farm Africa, driving relentlessly through 13 countries and two continents in the almost standard Panda.

Arriving at Marble Arch (London), the pair registered a time of 10 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes, breaking the previous record for the distance, in either direction, by more than a day.

To complete the trip in their target of less than 11 days, Philip and Paul had to average 1,600 kilometres a day at 45kph, a task they felt confident of completing in their 0.9-litre TwinAir-engined city car. The popular hatchback was showroom specification apart from a few vital modifications, such as extra fuel tank, two spare wheels, sump guards, stronger springs, and an air intake moved to the top of the engine bay.

Shunning the use of a large 4x4 car - Philip and Paul decided that would be "too easy" - the Fiat Panda was chosen for its lightness, performance and fuel economy. And despite the car's compact size, the co-drivers' bed was a cut down foam mattress across the back seat.

The long and tortuous route to Britain included tough, unmade pot-holed roads and treacherous, dry desert tracks through South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia before the pair crossed the Mediterranean for the final run up through Italy and France to London's Hyde Park.

"It has been a remarkable time on the road - exciting and exhilarating - and the Fiat Panda was amazing," says Philip Young. "The roads were treacherous, the heat unbearable and the timetable exhausting, but the car never missed a beat. This was an extremely tough journey, and Fiat can be proud of its reliability and ruggedness."