Toyota RAV4 Wins Oregon Trail Rally for Second Straight Year
The Toyota driver and his new-for-2017 co-pilot Rhianon Gelsomino knew they had a challenge ahead of them heading into the weekend. Over the course of its 18 stages, the Oregon Trail Rally presents the drivers with varied and difficult conditions, ranging from low-visibility dust clouds to slick and damp surfaces.
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The conditions require drivers to be adaptable and always on their toes. To prepare, the Millen and Gelsomino worked together to add as much detail to their pace notes as possible, allowing them to carry more speed out of corners. Millen has even taken to studying video on his phone between stages.
Perhaps even more than on the duo in the cockpit, the Oregon Trail Rally puts intense pressure on the car as well. Fine-tuning the Toyota RAV4 was critical: it was lowered by an inch and a half for the tarmac stages, raised for the off-road sections, nearly under-fueled throughout the entire weekend to keep weight down, and the surface of its tires was cut to help its grip over damp pavement.
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Throughout the 18 stages, Millen and rival Ford pilot Cameron Steely traded blows until it came down to the final event, where Millen and the RAV4 delivered a mighty performance to finish ahead with a 35 second advantage.
That result gave them a 10 point lead in the American Rally Association’s 2WD class, which the team will look to increase at the Olympus Rally on May 13-14.