A Citroën C2 1.4 HDI drove from Johannesburg to Durban and back to Johannesburg again on a single tank of 40 litres of new BP Cleaner Diesel 50 last weekend to establish a new record for the 1124km round trip between the two cities.
A second Citroen Picasso 1.6 HDI did the same trip on just 43 litres of BP's new diesel fuel. That car had enough fuel in reserve when it was refilled, that had it turned around, it would have been able to return to Durban again on the same tank of fuel it had just driven there and back on.
The C2 was the same car that driver Spotti Woodhead drove to the Overall Least Fuel Used award in the recent Total Economy Run, while the Picasso was driven as back-up to the C3 with a full load of passengers and luggage by Michele Lupini, who had also taken that car to Overall Fuel Efficiency victory in the Economy Run.
The Citroëns left the van Buuren Road onramp to the N3 at 06h57 Saturday morning and arrived at the Durban Convention Centre at 14h35 that afternoon, after a 47-minute lunch stop en route - the cars were on the road for 6 hours 41 minutes making for an 84km/h average speed.
The return trip commenced at 6:43 Sunday and ended at the same point as the previous day's start at 14:16, after a 43-minute stop for an identical 6 hour 41 minute run and an overall 84km/h average speed over the whole 13 hour 22 minute trip.
Unlike non-stop economy record runs of the past, the Citroëns stopped for a lunch break and at each of the ten tollgates en route, to ensure a truly representative run and results that could be repeated by any well driven similar car. Both cars were in identical specification to their successful Economy Run trim, where all competing cars are thoroughly checked to ensure they are in totally standard specification.
The Citroën run was observed by Economy Run Clerk of the Course Adri van der Berg, who rode as passenger alongside Spotti Woodhead in the C2 for the trip. Citroën's Marketing Manager, Ian Beales and a TV cameraman joined Lupini in the Picasso along with all the luggage and back-up equipment required for the run.
At the single final refuel, the C2 took just 40.42 litres of Diesel 50 to fill, representing a 3.596l/100km overall fuel consumption to emphatically break the previous Durban-Johannesburg-Durban on a single tank of fuel record of 5.9litres per 100km set by Philip Hull in a Toyota Camry.
"In the '60s, there was a song that went 'It takes just eight hours to get to Durban in Daddy's Chevrolet," driver Spotti Woodhead reminisced on the Durban beachfront on Saturday evening. "Today we did it in quite a lot less time than that and our C2 used only about twenty litres to do it"
The family favourite Citroën Picasso 1.6 HDI needed just 43.876 litres to top its tank up at the end of the run, representing an overall fuel consumption of just 3.872l/100km.
"What is important to remember about the Picasso's performance is that it was running as the back-up to the C2, which means we regularly had to push up ahead to ensure the C2's easiest passage and it wasn't unnecessarily delayed by queues at tollgates and then catch up again after," Cars in Action Publisher and Run Organizer Michele Lupini pointed out.
"And we had three big men and more than just a boot full of luggage in the car, so the Picasso's results are also quite remarkable"
Interestingly, both cars' onboard computers indicated the same figures they achieved at the refuel at the end of the run and at the overnight stop after the easier down run; the C2 was indicating 3.0l/100 and the Picasso 3.4l/100.