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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.

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