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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Kia Telluride + Rebelle Rally = Success!

Kia Telluride + Rebelle Rally = Success!

Staff KiAloha is Susie Saxten and Verena Mei within the 2023 Kia Telluride. Picture: Sara Lacey

After which, they received a podium spot – and a spot in my coronary heart.

You *may* have heard us singing the praises of the Rebelle Rally in these pages. We love this competitors that, over the course of 8 days, members find checkpoints all through Nevada and California. It’s a severe take a look at as a result of rivals can’t use GPS in any type; no telephones, GPS gadgets, and even onboard navigation methods are allowed. The rally covers a large number of difficult terrain, together with rock trails and desert dunes, and drivers sleep in tents each night time between the levels. Moreover, family and friends aren’t allowed any contact. No spectators past workers and a few sponsors and media. Sure, it’s hardcore.

So folks could also be shocked to study that the Kia Telluride X-Professional was not solely a contest automobile on this 12 months’s rally, it completed with a third-place podium spot within the X-Cross class. I’ve pushed the Kia Telluride X-Professional on an off-road course and cherished the way it made difficult terrain really easy to handle. However competing within the Rebelle appeared like Kia was taking it to a little bit of an excessive.

And sure, the Rebelle is a bit excessive, so Kia teamed up with Theresa Contreras of Baja Solid to make the Telluride X-Professional as strong because it may very well be (inside the guidelines, after all). Kia has labored with Contreras over 10 years for SEMA Present reveals and now the Rebelle. Contreras assisted with the paint job on the Telluride X-Professional, embracing the texture of the setting of the race. The ultimate design was really thrown in on the final minute. “You need the automobile to really feel prefer it’s in place…the design wants to include that. And we actually needed to work with the Wolf Gray, which is a superb shade. After which we introduced within the totally different terrains of the rally.”

Associated: A New Sport: Rebelle Rally Newbies Be taught Off-Roading Abilities

2023 Rebelle Rally Kia Team. Photo: Kia
2023 Rebelle Rally Kia Staff (l-r): Susie Saxten, Verena Mei and Theresa Contreras. Picture: Kia

Modding inside the Rebelle Rally Guidelines

The Rebelle Rally actually limits what rivals can modify about their off-roaders. In actual fact, there’s a “Bone Inventory” award for the off-roader that does the most effective job, and is most like a mannequin you possibly can drive off the lot. When you do modify, there are limits on all modifications. Contreras defined a number of the modifications added to the Telluride, like a skid plate, and altering the entrance bumper so it doesn’t get caught within the dunes or the rocks, and tow factors. If the staff must get pulled out, they want entry to some tow hooks rapidly. And people tow hooks had been mounted to the entrance of the unibody body. There’s a roof rack and a elevate to extend floor clearance to 10 inches.

Associated: On the Rebelle Rally, the Finest Prize Is the Associates You Make

Team Kialoha'S Cargo Space. Photo: Kia
Staff Kialoha’s cargo area. Picture: Kia

So, What Does it Take to Place in This Race?

After the Telluride was modified, how did Kia and Staff #206 KiAloha get the job finished? The deep expertise and expertise of each the driving force and the navigator obtained the Kia Telluride to the rostrum. The motive force and navigator share some ability units however principally follow what they know finest. Verena Mei drives, and Susie Saxten navigates.

Verena Mei has been in varied varieties of motorsport for a few years. She is an professional drifter, rally racer, and even a sim racer. I met her on the Rebelle Rally. She has competed within the Rebelle in 2016, 2020, 2021, and now 2023. She has made shifts in her life lately, going to a extra conventional job outdoors of automotive for the primary time in 15 years. And that’s why she got here again to Rebelle.

Associated: Navigating Terrain and My Emotions at Rebelle Rally

Team Kialoha. Photo: Kia
Staff KiAloha: Susie and Verena. Picture: Kia

What Drives Staff KiAloha’s Passions?

“Competing retains me within the racing world I really like a lot whereas stepping away from it to attempt one thing totally different,” she stated. Mei switched up her profession a few years in the past, laughing about how she form of did issues backwards. “I began racing as an adolescent and didn’t get into the company world till lately. So it’s enjoyable for me to be again right here and get to compete and test that field.” It ought to be famous that along with taking third place on this 12 months’s Rebelle, she took a stage win and in addition second place within the X-Cross class in 2021 (in a Kia Sorento plug-in hybrid, no much less).

The motive force ensures the staff will get the place they should go together with minimal injury or pitfalls. It’s not unusual for groups to get caught or have a flat. So a great driver will mitigate as lots of these situations as potential.

And why the Kia Telluride X-Professional? Effectively, as a result of it’s so succesful. And Mei says, “It’s lovely!” Mei isn’t kidding. It’s obtained beautiful quilted leather-based seats and a wonderful multimedia system that really couldn’t be used as a result of that isn’t allowed at Rebelle.

Susie Saxten And Verena Mei Are Kialoha. Photo: Rebelle Rally
Susie Saxten and Verena Mei are KiAloha. Picture: Rebelle Rally

Navigation Motivation

Susie Saxten has been Rebelle-ing for a very long time, too. 2023 is her fifth 12 months competing, and he or she has collected a bunch of stage wins. That is the primary 12 months she has been on the rostrum, although. Past Rebelle, she competed in Rally Jameel in 2022, the primary race for all girls in Saudi Arabia. After I requested Susie what retains her coming again to the Rebelle, she gave an attention-grabbing reply I hadn’t heard earlier than. She stated, “I see the Rebelle as form of a detox. I get to show off my cellphone and laptop and are available out right here and simply take into consideration the rally. It’s my yearly reset.”

The position of the navigator within the Rebelle Rally is a way more concerned one. Saxten should take the given latitude and longitude factors and translate them right into a exact location on a map utilizing rulers and a plotter. Then, as soon as out on the course, the navigator will get out of the automobile and takes measurements with a compass to verify the staff is driving within the right course always. As you possibly can think about, one small error can blow up fairly rapidly as soon as distance is added. So precision is significant. Saxten commented, “I cherished the look of our Telluride this 12 months with the wrap and the roof racks; it felt like an actual badass off-roading automobile. I additionally appreciated the entire storage within the entrance seat. Within the seat, on the sprint, middle console, and many others. I’ve a whole lot of rulers and plotters and pencils, and there was a spot for all of them!”

To be clear, the expertise of Staff KiAloha can’t be understated. The Rebelle Rally is an occasion that has members excited simply to complete. It was nice enjoyable to comply with Staff KiAloha all through the course of the race and see how they had been doing. Susie herself stated consistency is vital, and so they by no means dropped beneath fourth place on any stage. As for Kia, you’d be forgiven for pondering this was only a proving floor for his or her vehicles. A Kia spokesperson stated, “The Rebelle Rally is far more than only a platform to showcase how succesful Kia SUVs are. It’s an unbelievable neighborhood that embodies Kia’s slogan, ‘Motion that Conjures up.’ The challenges the ladies undergo – and overcome – are nothing wanting inspirational.”

Team Kialoha Finding Some Shade While Plotting Checkpoints. Photo: Sara Lacey
Staff KiAloha discovering some shade whereas plotting checkpoints. Picture: Sara Lacey

Kias, Kias In all places

I really met a few folks on workers on the Rebelle Rally that drive new Kia Tellurides. One particular person picked me up from the airport in hers, and he or she talked about how a lot she cherished it. She was neither from Kia nor a competitor on the Kia staff. I used to be impressed. She drives it for work, and for her household tenting journeys. She grew up going to dunes just like the place we had been and off-roading there as a child.

That’s the largest takeaway from the Rebelle Rally. That ladies can overcome and conquer something. If it’s taking your personal Kia Telluride to a distant cabin to get away from all of it, or difficult your self to an intense 8-day-long rally, consider in your self. You are able to do onerous issues.

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