Dawn Carberry
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Toyota Neck-and-Neck with Ford in Rally America National Championship

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2016 Toyota Rally RAV4 at Olympus

Photo: © Toyota

There are only three rounds left in the Rally America National Championship and so far, the Toyota RAV4 is neck-and-neck with the Ford Fiesta ST in the 2WD standings at 79 points each.

The Toyota team is at the New England Forest Rally (NEFR) in Newry, Maine, this weekend to try to eke out an advantage before the final two rounds—but it’s not going to be easy.

“It’s come down to a three-race championship,” said Ryan Millen, who is driving behind the wheel of the RAV4 today and tomorrow alongside wife and copilot Christina Fate. “We don’t have the same margin that we had early in the season where a second or third place keeps you in the hunt. We need a win here, and we’re going to push hard, but at the same time make sure we finish.”

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The true challenge is in the nature of the NEFR, a technical course with long, forest-lined logging roads crisscrossed by winding creeks and tight one-lane bridges. Millen and Fate will compete in ten stages over the course of Friday and Saturday, completing more than 100 miles in total. They’ll have to find the right balance between going all-out and remaining consistent throughout the event.

“We’re going after it,” said Millen. “I’m going to push a little harder, and maybe even come out of the gates swinging a bit more so we don’t fall behind early in the rally.  Sometimes luck plays a role…but you can’t live on luck forever.”

One impressive bit of information about the Toyota RAV4 rally car is that it still boasts its original engine and automatic transmission; in fact, part of the team’s success has been attributed to keeping as many stock OE Toyota parts as possible. We’ll see where Millen, Fate, and the RAV4 end up in the standings tomorrow!

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  • Dawn CarberryContributor

    Dawn Carberry is the digital marketing manager and the head blogger for the Haddad Automotive Group, located in the city of Pittsfield in Western MA. The Haddad Auto Group includes Haddad Toyota, Haddad Subaru, Haddad Hyundai, and Haddad Nissan new car dealerships, and Haddad of South County used cars.