Torrance, Calif., June 1, 2016—
The only thing better than winning a rally is winning two rallies. Winning them back-to-back is even sweeter. And now, after taking the 2WD crown at the last two events, Ryan Millen, Christina Fate, and the Rally RAV4 are looking to make it three in a row this coming weekend at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally (STPR) in Wellsboro, Pa.
The RAV4 currently leads the 2WD national points standings with a five point margin over second place, and Ryan Millen plans to do everything possible to stay on top for the championship hunt.
“We’ve got the championship lead for the first time, but it’s a small cushion,” said Millen. “We’re looking at that big picture still, staying in the hunt for the championship. We have to be consistent and STPR is no exception.”
With 14 challenging stages over two days, STPR is sure to be exciting for fans and competitors alike. More than 60 vehicles of varying makes and models are entered, providing lots of healthy competition. After two notable wins, navigator Fate thinks the RAV is definitely starting to stand out.
“We’re starting to get a lot of credit from other competitors,” said Fate. “People are really beginning to view the RAV4 as a real presence. They still can’t believe its powertrain is largely stock!”
The team has spent considerable time replacing and servicing parts that took a beating from the Olympus Rally’s constant rock assault. They’ve installed a transmission cooler to help keep drivetrain temperatures at bay.
In addition to their new hardware, the team is excited to welcome a new mechanic to the fray, working under the watchful eye of crew chief, Brian Hoeppner.
Hoeppner and the team aren’t making major changes to the car for STPR, preferring to stick to their winning formula. This formula heavily favors using a number of stock Toyota RAV4 parts rather than their aftermarket alternatives. Plus, with its generous suspension travel, a keen automatic gearbox that never hunts for power, and sharp steering, it’s no wonder the RAV4 continues to do so well.
Winning STPR, like Olympus before it, means something special to Millen. It’s another race his father, Rod, won several times.
“These are rallies my dad ran – and won – way back when,” said Millen. “He’s been giving me tons of advice. I’d love to continue the winning tradition here, but again, we’re focusing on the big picture. This is another step toward the championship, and we’re going to give it all we’ve got.”
STPR is the oldest continuously running motorsport event in the state of Pennsylvania. This year marks the 40th running of the event, and like Ryan and Christina, competitors are clamoring for first place bragging rights. For 2016, all spectator-friendly Super Special Stage action will unfurl at night under the lights of the Tioga County Fairgrounds.
More information on the Rally RAV4 program can be found at www.RallyRAV4.com
Information on Oregon Trail and the Rally America series can be found at www.STPR.org