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Great-grandson of Sir Ernest Shackleton conquers Antarctica in a Hyundai Santa Fe

Thursday 20 April 2017, By Autovolo

Great-grandson of Sir Ernest Shackleton conquers Antarctica in a Hyundai Santa Fe

Great-grandson of Sir Ernest Shackleton conquers Antarctica in a Hyundai Santa Fe

The great-grandson of renowned explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, Patrick Bergel, has become the first person ever to drive across Antarctica.

Sir Ernest led an Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition between 1914 and 1916 but sadly never made it to the South Pole.

A century later, to commemorate Shackleton’s achievements, his great-grandson has completed the trip.

Patrick did not do his journey on foot though – instead, he took a lightly modified Hyundai Santa Fe on the 3,604-mile trip, with temperatures falling to minus-28 degrees Celsius.

Various alterations were made to the car. The original sub-frames were replaced with bigger ones so that the large winter wheels could fit within the body of the car. 

The wheels themselves were also modified to accommodate new gearing and extra suspension to help the car cope with such harsh terrain.

Other modifications include increasing the fuel tank’s capacity and converting the car to run on jet fuel, as it’s the only fuel available on the continent. 

Over a period of 30 days throughout December 2016, the 2.2-litre diesel Hyundai fought extreme weather and drove across floating ice caps that had never had any vehicles drive over them before.

Locations were plotted out beforehand to avoid dangerous situations as much as possible, but there were still huge obstacles to overcome.
Patrick Bergel said of his fantastic achievement: “The journey was incredible and the car was a pleasure to drive. Sometimes it felt less like driving and more like sailing across the snow. It was a proper expedition with a challenge to accomplish that nobody else had done before.
“It was about endurance not speed – we only averaged 17mph – and success was about how we and the car handled it.
“I’m very reluctant to make direct comparisons between what my great grandfather did and what we’ve done recently. But it is quite something to have been the first to do this in a wheeled vehicle.”