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On Tuesday Audi will set out to see just how many countries one standard specification diesesl sedan can visit on a single tank of fuel.
Leaving from Maastricht in the Netherlands motoring journalist Andrew Frankel and racing driver Rebecca Jackson will be co-piloting a standard specification Audi A6 Ultra with a 2-liter turbodiesel engine with the ultimate aim of passing through nine countries before the car runs out of fuel in country number 10.
Although the car is a standard model, the route selected for the world record attempt has been devised by the Royal Automobile Club and takes into consideration factors such as congestion and speed of travel. In fact, it was the motoring organization's idea to try to set a new record as a way of highlighting how drivers don't need to compromise in order to achieve greater fuel efficiency.
The RAC's Simon Williams said: "We're confident the combination of two skilled drivers, a highly fuel efficient Audi A6 Ultra and a route that takes in the most possible countries in the least fuel-taxing way will lead to a hard-to-beat record that covers at least 10 countries, hopefully more."
To achieve that record, the Audi will have to cover 1000 miles (1609km) on a single tank if it is to pass through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Germany, Italy and the Balkans. To maximize fuel economy, Frankel and Jackson will be traveling pretty much non-stop (killing and restarting the engine zaps fuel economy) and will be using every legal fuel-saving driving technique at their disposal.
Audi is by no means the only car company trying to get into the 2016 Guinness Book of World Records by way of its diesel technology. Honda is currently trying to set a diesel power efficiency record of its own by traveling trough one of each of Europe's 24 contiguous countries every day before returning back to the starting point of Aalst, Belgium on day 25. Two Honda R&D employees embarked on the attempt on June 1 with a goal of setting a time- and fuel-economy rating over the 13,600km distance and to highlight the difference between stated and real-world fuel economy figures.
For example, in the sales literature, the A6 Ultra's figures are quoted as 4.4l/100km and, as the car has a 73-liter tank on paper, it should stop just short of the 1000-mile target. However, this objective, real-world test could produce an entirely different result. To follow the car's progress, a special website has been set up, or you can follow Andrew Frankel or Rebecca Jackson via Twitter, on the moments when they're not behind the wheel.