Behind the wheel of her stock Ram 1500 Rebel, rally driver Amanda Vasconcellos become the first Brazilian to exceed 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) in a 4×4 pickup truck, in the Andes Mountains, a historic record. Alongside the expeditionary and pilot Renato Perotti, she reached exactly 6,018 meters (19,744 feet), with winds of 75 km/h (46.6 mph), and negative temperatures, up to -7°C (or 19.4°F).
To give you an idea, this altitude is equivalent to that of a commercial airplane flight. Throughout the journey, the lack of oxygen has always been a major concern as it could affect the team’s physical and cognitive ability. In this regard, the acclimatization work was fundamental. And the whole adventure was documented in the web series “Desafio dos Andes” (Andes Challenge), whose initial episode can be seen below. The remaining eight parts will be released over the next few weeks: episodes 2 through 5 on June 15th and episodes 6 through 9 on July 15th.
Equipped with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine and a 26-gallon fuel tank (98-liter), the only alteration to the Rebel was the change from its export Falken Wilderness A/T tires to a set of General Tire Grabber X³ 33×12/50 R18 tires for additional performance in the harsh terrains of the Andes. The North American General Tire brand, which is part of the Continental Tire portfolio, was the sponsor of the project. The tires offered superior performance in the mud, dirt, rocks, and even snow, conditions faced on the path taken up the Andes.
“In the Cordillera, everything is immense: the mountains, the cold, the challenge. Only those who live this experience of driving a 4×4 at altitude can understand the size of the effort and the meaning of this achievement. At 40 years old, this victory is one of the legacies I leave for my daughters”, celebrated Vasconcellos.
Renato Perotti invested five years of his life to carry out the project of reaching 6,000 meters for the first time in 2016. “Having the opportunity to relive this goal alongside Amanda has become the dream of the entire team. There were weeks of preparation in Brazil to face an extreme level off-road, with sand, gravel, cliffs, scary canyons, very steep climbs, snow, ice, rocks, and passing through isolated places within a radius of 100 km with no sign of life,” said Perotti.
“It was with great enthusiasm that we received the opportunity to sponsor the ‘Desafio dos Andes’ project, providing our tires for an adventure of this magnitude. And, of course, it is very gratifying to be able to celebrate the achievement of Amanda and Renato. For us, this result proves in practice, once again, the strength and performance attributes of General Tire tires in the most critical driving conditions”, highlighted Rodrigo Bonilha, Vice President of Continental Tires – Brazil.
The “Andes Challenge” was an 8,000 km (or about 5,000 miles) adventure that required a lot of planning, good equipment, courage, and professionalism. The departure was in Campinas, São Paulo, on April 1st, returning to the same city exactly two weeks later. The route included, among other places, Miranda, Portezuelo, Chilca, and Las Placetas, in addition to part of the route already used during the traditional Dakar rally in Argentina.