Unimog to conquer the DRC
The Unimog is described as a rugged and highly manoeuvrable off-road machine – one-of-a-kind, strikingly dynamic, incomparably strong, and absolutely reliable. In short, it is the ideal work and transport vehicle for even the most arduous conditions.
Francois Pieterse, Rupert Jooné and Analize van Aswegen from Anglo American Exploration Africa take ownership of their Unimog from Ferdi de Beer, Technical Specialist: Special Vehicles at Mercedes-Benz South Africa.
This is exactly the kind of vehicle that Rupert Jooné, Manager Operations and HR of Anglo American Exploration Africa, was looking for when the company needed a vehicle for their exploration activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – in areas where a journey of less than 300km can take up to 12 hours!
Rupert says that he was first introduced to the exceptional capabilities of the Unimog during his compulsory military service many years ago. He was reminded of the Unimog’s abilities at a customer day hosted by Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Centurion dealership, and again when the vehicle was extensively assessed at the Gerotek’s testing grounds.
Although the team had also considered other vehicles for the transport of camping supplies and geological samples to their base in the DRC, he was most impressed with the Unimog’s reliability and NCAP safety ratings.
“It is an expensive process to collect samples and we cannot afford to run the risk of losing such valuable cargo due to breakdowns or other mechanical problems,” says Rupert.
Christo Kleynhans, Mercedes-Benz trucks product manager says, “The iconic Unimog offers top off-road performance and its extreme manoeuvrability makes it possible to go almost anywhere.” The Unimog’s versatility gives it the edge and it is best suited for exploring hostile terrain adds Kleynhans.
The Unimog also lends itself to a range of capabilities and customisation, and to this end this Unimog have even fitted a crane to load and off-load heavy equipment. While the quality of diesel in the DRC may potentially have been a concern, the Unimog can operate on any grade of diesel as its fuel line is fitted with filters to capture any contaminants or pollutants.
Rupert believes in using only genuine spare parts for the vehicle and they are therefore taking their own stock of Mercedes-Benz replacement parts along. “This means that in the inaccessible and remote areas where the Unimog is based, it will only be serviced by qualified Mercedes-Benz technicians, even if that requires flying the technicians to the DRC,” he adds
Driver training for the expedition is provided by Mercedes-Benz South Africa and it will be the trained drivers that will to operate the vehicle says Rupert.
The Unimog’s exceptional off-road capability is made possible through a host of technical features, from its flexible ladder-type frame and all-wheel drive with differential locks on both axles, to the tyre pressure control system.
The Unimog gets through terrain that other vehicles can't even reach and the is sure to prove its mettle in the DRC!