[dropcap]R[/dropcap]yan Millen and the Rally RAV4 won the Ojibwe Forests Rally in dominant fashion, claiming victory by more than seven minutes over the nearest rival.
With the win, Toyota finishes the 2017 American Rally Association season undefeated in the 2WD class. The Rally RAV4 also secured fourth overall in the ARA championship, ahead of many vehicles from the much faster 4WD category.
According to Millen, the rough and slippery roads at the Ojibwe Forests Rally played right into the RAV4’s inherent advantages.
“It was really cool because we have great ground clearance and suspension travel,” he said. “The slippery conditions are a benefit for the RAV4, because of the automatic transmission. While others were spinning and stalling under braking, we never had any of those issues.”
The perfect season is a testament to not only the hard work Millen and co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino exhibited over the course of the year, but the rock-solid reliability of the RAV4.
“The car was perfect the whole year. I feel like the driver gets all the glory, but it’s really a team effort, and the car was flawless,” Millen said after his sixth consecutive victory. “We chose a vehicle that had superior reliability. It’s so hard to be able to be consistent every weekend and always be a threat. It’s pretty cool, pretty special.”
The championship is the culmination of three years of preparation by Millen and his team. He considers the RAV4 a perfect vehicle to get started in rallying.
“If anyone ever asked me, ‘Hey, I want to get into rally, what would you recommend?’ I would say, ‘Start with an automatic RAV4,’” he said. “It’s robust. The axles are huge. It’s built like a truck. We’re still blown away by how much of a beating these cars can take.”
Gelsomino is similarly impressed with the capabilities the RAV4 demonstrated over the course of the season.
“People look at the RAV4 and don’t know what it can do,” she said. “To be standing here at the end of the championship, having won six-for-six is a big thing to achieve. And this weekend we really dominated.”