Toyota Rav4 triumphs in rally championship
- Toyota Rally RAV4 wins U.S. 2WD championship
- Five successive victories to “down under” crew Millen and Gelsomino
- Front-drive Toyota SUV challenges AWD vehicles in the forests
Toyota’s “down under” Rally RAV4 crew Ryan Millen and Rhianon Gelsomino have clinched the American Rally Association 2WD championship after scoring their fifth victory from five starts.
The Toyota team dominated the most recent event on the New England Forest Rally’s gravel logging roads, winning 10 of the 13 stages.
Their RAV4, which features a standard four-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission, has excelled in the rough and tricky terrain throughout the 2017 series due to its ride height, stability and durability.
Millen – son of New Zealander and Pike’s Peak legend Rod Millen – said he was stoked to grab another win and the championship.
“We’ve overcome cars that are faster than us, so it’s very, very sweet,” Millen said. “It’s hard to make a car finish these rallies, let alone win them, so to be finishing and winning them consistently like this is huge.”
Gelsomino – who has more than a decade of experience working with motorsport teams and drivers around the world – said the run of victories showcased the unsurpassed reliability of the RAV4 over the most demanding terrain.
“The Rally RAV4 has been absolutely incredible,” she said. “I honestly couldn’t believe what we can do in that stock car. To see the times we can put down, to see the jumps that we do in the RAV4, flying through the stages, and seeing the spectators supporting us. It’s pretty incredible.”
Their next goal is to attempt to finish third outright in the championship against much faster 4WD vehicles when they head to the sixth and final round, the Ojibwe Forests Rally in Minnesota on August 25-26.