Aussie signs 2017 deal with American driver
- 27th January 2017, 3:30am
Australian co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino has signed a deal to sit beside Ryan Millen in the 2017 American Rally Association series.
Millen and USA-based Gelsomino will drive a Toyota RAV4 this year, with their first event being the Rally Perce Neige in Canada on the first weekend in February.
“I am really looking forward to working with Ryan and Toyota USA this season,” Gelsomino said.
“Ryan and I competed together last season in a one-off test event in NASA, which I am happy to say we won.
“We worked really well as a team and it was great to see his abilities behind the wheel of the RAV4. I can't wait to get the season started and see what's possible this season.”
A compatible partnership is key in the rally car. Both Millen and Gelsomino share a family history in rallying, as both were raised with rally drivers as fathers. That connection should spell good things.
Driver and co-driver chemistry is essential, but this year the team will have an advantage they didn’t have last year. They’ll be running for the second time at many of the rallies on the schedule. This familiarity could yield a real competitive advantage.
As potent as Team Millen and the Rally RAV4 were the first time out, there’s no replacement for seat time.
“I’m looking forward to building on the pace notes from last year, and hope it will give us even more of a competitive advantage,” Millen said.
“Last year was amazing, but you have to look forward, and I think we’re in a great position to show once again what the Rally RAV4 is made of.”
The RAV4, as in previous years, will continue to take on the brutal rally world with a stock engine and automatic transmission.
Fans across the country were continually shocked and impressed at the potency of the Rally RAV4, which spins only the front wheels through a conventional six-speed automatic gear box.
The Rally Perce Neige consists of 143 stage miles of gravel roads covered in snow and ice.
On the Saturday of the event, which has around 220km of stages, the temperature is predicted to range between minus 23 and minus 14.
“This will be the longest day of rallying I have ever done, and we’ll be rallying until 10pm. Minus 23 won’t be very nice at all,” Gelsomino said.
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