TOYOTA HILUX ANCHORS RECORD-BREAKING BALLOON JOURNEY AROUND THE WORLD

Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov supported by Toyota in 11-day, non-stop flight

There are few places a Toyota Hilux can’t go and the earth’s upper atmosphere is one region it’s yet to conquer. Nonetheless the legendary “go anywhere” pick-up has played an important part in helping Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov complete a record-breaking, non-stop journey around the world by hot air balloon.

Toyota backed Konyukhov’s daring mission from the start, providing him with a Hilux as his official vehicle. True to its formidable reputation, it offered much more than a simple means of getting around, taking a key role in helping him achieve a safe take-off and landing.

The Hilux proved its worth during Konykhov’s training programme in Russia and was on hand when he came to the UK last year during his pre-flight preparations for the official handover of his balloon at Cameron Balloons in Bristol.

Fast-forward to 12 July and the Hilux had a genuine “wheels-on” role at the  launch site in Northam, Western Australia, anchoring the balloon and preventing a premature take-off while its envelope was being filled with helium.

Eleven days later, the Hilux was among the first to arrive at the landing site, about 170 miles away near Bonnie Rock, with Konyukhov’s team on board. Once the balloon made touch-down, the trusted Hilux was again at the heart of the action, safely tethering the craft so Konyukhov could make a safe exit from the pod.

The journey covered a distance of 21,717 miles, crossing the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, approaching Antarctica and overflying Australia, South America and Africa. The balloon reached heights up to 10,600m and endured temperatures as low as -55°C. Konyukhov smashed American Steve Fosset’s record by two days.

Tatiana Khalyavskaya, Toyota Motor Russia’s Marketing Director, said: “The whole Toyota team sincerely congratulates Fedor Konyukhov and all participants of the Round The World On a Roziere Balloon project. The example of the 65-year old traveller who challenged the nature proves that there is nothing impossible for a human, especially when supported by true friends and a vehicle you can rely on in the most extreme situations.”

Konyukhov’s epic flight coincided with a new chapter in the history of the Toyota Hilux, with the market launch of an all-new model – marking the start of the eighth generation of this remarkable vehicle. Full details of the new model range can be found here.

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