A mechanical engineering graduate, Frankenstein is an assistant to the Head of the Technical Competence Center in Braunschweig. He and his friends pitched in to buy a one-liter Polo with 45 bhp, and they were not disappointed. "Despite being crammed full and having to cope with unconventional terrain by Central European standards most of the time, the car held out and lasted the course," shared the Volkswagen employee, adding that they "even survived the Ak-Baital Pass in Turkmenistan." This pass is 4,655 meters high and forms part of the Pamir Highway, which is the second highest paved highway in the world.
The three friends made a few changes to the car before taking part in the rally. These included adding a searchlight and additional panels for underbody protection. After reaching their final destination, the trio met a group of English people who went on to drive the Polo from Russia back to Germany – without any major issues.
The only thing that broke down and could not be repaired during the rally was the odometer. "This meant we couldn’t be entirely sure how many kilometers our Polo actually covered," reveals Frankenstein. He reckons it must have been between 25,000 and 30,000 cf. previously kilometers.
What he particularly enjoyed about the journey was the hospitality of the people he met – particularly in Iran. "We often found ourselves invited to dinner, and complete strangers would let us sleep in their homes. In some cases, these people would then find someone else to host us the following night." And whenever there were no sleeping facilities available, the three would sleep in a tent. "It was a real adventure with so many unknowns," reminisces Frankenstein, emphasizing that it was "a fantastic contrast to our typically well-organized lives." It was also a great experience to be able to rely on other people in some of the most remote parts of the world. In Georgia, for example, the travelers needed a spare part for the gear shift and were able to find one in a junkyard thanks to the support of the local people. And then there was the time the trio got stuck and desperately needed a push. Nothing was ever a problem, no matter whether they nearing the Chinese border or close to Afghanistan.