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In early March, world record-holding driver Rainer Zietlow left the Bratislava factory in Slovakia in a new Touareg – still in camouflage – and set his sights on China. The 16,000-kilometre route passes through eleven countries. The SUV has been built in Bratislava since 2002; the new Touareg will celebrate its world première in Beijing on 23 March. Read his journal here.

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A Buddhist monk in traditional robes poses enthusiastically next to our Touareg
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In the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar the people still live in yurts, the traditional nomadic tents. Theirs, however, are equipped with modern furnishings
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We make a stop to see Genghis Khan, or rather the largest statue of the conquerer, standing at 40 metres tall
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Sundown approaches as we set out for the next stage – the Touareg's adaptive light illuminates the roads perfectly
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We take a seat in a Russian UAZ, in which the driver's cabin has been completely cleared out… where are the rest of the seats?
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Loaded up to the roof with items. That describes most of the vehicles in the area
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No trace of any other cars for miles around… but we aren't alone
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As we look for a restaurant we are always met with a smile by the locals