VIDEO: Aussie war vet in 6x6 truck challenge

Injured veteran and high-profile author part of driving record attempt

VIDEO: Aussie war vet in 6x6 truck challenge
One of the HXs hits the road


Australian Afghanistan War veteran Paul Warren is part of an international Rheinmetall MAN attempt at the world high-altitude driving record, the military-vehicle builder says.

Warren and British veteran Chris Bailey have been invited to take part as they seek to raise awareness of the important and valuable contribution to society former military people and wounded veterans can make.

"This expedition is all about capability," Warren, a former muay thai kickboxing champion who lost a leg in the conflict, says.

"Capability of these vehicles and also wounded veterans like Chris and myself.

"We aren’t defined by our injuries but defined by our actions.

"We will show grit, determination and resilience to achieve this goal with the Rheinmetall team. What’s important to me is that our abilities take centre stage, not our so-called disabilities."

Warren came in fifth in the 100-metre run at the Invictus Games in London in 2014, and served as captain of the Australian team in 2016. He has also written an autobiography, The Fighter.

The company’s a local subsidiary, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia (RMMVA), supplies logistic and tactical military vehicles and provides services to the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces.

The Rheinmetall MAN High Altitude Truck Expedition is equipped with two off-the-shelf vehicles, a 254 kW (340hp) HX 4x4 and a 328kW (440hp) HX 6x6 aimed at topping 6,690 metres above sea level.

They aim to climb most of the 6,690m Ojos del Salado, the world’s highest active volcano, located on the border of Chile and Argentina.

"In participating in this project, we want to do more than just show how effective our high-performance vehicles are," Rheinmetall AG CEO Armin Papperger said before the effort kicked off this week.

"First and foremost, we want to draw attention to the needs of veterans and wounded warriors, and give the physically challenged members of the team a chance to prove themselves and – in a vicarious sense – their comrades in the armed forces of countries around the world."

Rheinmetall MAN says the two trucks were specially modified in a few areas to make sure they could handle the environmental conditions and the steep volcanic slopes with stony, slippery surfaces. The engine controls were modified in order to handle the extreme conditions: at 6,000 metres above sea level, the laws of physics dictate that engines produce only around two-thirds of their normal output.

The 14-strog team is headed by adventure firm Extrem Events’ head, Matthias Jeschke.

"We’re highly motivated and have done everything during the one-year planning phase to be as well-prepared as possible," Jeschke states.  

"The biggest challenge we’ll face will surely be the unpredictable weather conditions.

"We’re going to have to cope with storms, huge amounts of snow, ice fields and the extremely difficult terrain up there.

"Temperature fluctuations and the thin mountain air will put our bodies to the test and as well as demanding the utmost from our vehicles. But we’re still confident of being able to reach our altitude goal of at least 6,690 metres within the six-week window."

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