DRC explorers choose Merc Unimog
PERFECT PARTNERHSIP: Francois Pieterse, Rupert Joone and Analize van Aswegen from Anglo American Exploration Africa take ownership of their Unimog from Ferdi de Beer.
While Rupert Joone, manager operations and HR of Anglo American Exploration Africa, looked for an appropriate vehicle in which to tackle the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to him nothing stood out more than the Unimog.
Rupert said he was first introduced to the capabilities of the Unimog during his compulsory military service many years ago. He was reminded of its 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.
Rupert said: “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.”
Christo Kleynhans, Mercedes-Benz trucks product manager, said: “The iconic Unimog offers top off-road performance and its extreme manoeuvrability makes it possible to go almost anywhere
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 said.
Driver training for the expedition will provided by Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Rupert added.
The Unimog’s 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.