PORSCHE CARS NORTH AMERICA AND PORSCHE CARS CANADA ANNOUNCE DRIVER PAIRINGS FOR 2008 TRANSSYBERIA RALLY Spread over two weeks and covering over 4,400 miles, the 2008 edition of the TransSyberia Rally could be the most challenging motorsports ...
PORSCHE CARS NORTH AMERICA AND PORSCHE CARS CANADA ANNOUNCE DRIVER PAIRINGS FOR 2008 TRANSSYBERIA RALLY
Spread over two weeks and covering over 4,400 miles, the 2008 edition of the TransSyberia Rally could be the most challenging motorsports event of the year
ATLANTA, April 24, 2008 --- Porsche Cars North America and Porsche Cars Canada have announced their driver and co-driver pairings for the 2008 edition of the grueling TransSyberia Rally, set to begin in Moscow's Red Square on July 11th and finish up in Ulaanbaatar, the capitol of Mongolia on July 25th. The teams will be competing in "evo" versions of the same tough and dependable Cayenne S TransSyberia they drove last year. With the cancellation of the Paris-Dakar, the TransSyberia Rally, called by the 2007 winner, North American Team leader Rod Millen, "the toughest thing I'd ever done", moves to the forefront as the most physically grueling and mechanically challenging competitions of this or any year.
This year's 4,347-mile route will traverse the Ural Mountains, wind through the pristine sub- arctic forests of Siberia, up to the rugged peaks of the Altai Mountains and continue across the sprawling, barren Mongolian plains and on through the legendary Gobi Desert, prior to reaching the finish line in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Paired in the Team USA entry for 2008 are Ryan Millen, son of the 2007 winner, and Colin Godby, his co-driver. Team Canada will once again be made up of road racing veteran Kees Nierop and his co-driver, Toronto-based Laurance Yap.
Ryan Millen, though only 23, has competed in the infamous Baja 1000, five times, completing every one he entered, the last four with Godby as his co-driver. In addition to competing, Ryan has pre-run the Baja course at least a half a dozen times more, honing his off road skills. For 2007, Ryan won a convincing class victory at New Zealand's toughest off-road event, the Taupo 1000.
"When my Dad came to me and asked if I would be interested in taking over his seat in the TransSyberia Cayenne, I just couldn't believe it," enthused young Millen. "After all the stories I'd heard about how tough the rally is and how beautiful the landscape is and to drive for an icon like Porsche, well, it's truly a dream come true."
"I wanted to do it again this year. Defend the title and all that, but my schedule just wouldn't cooperate," said Rod Millen, multi-time rally, Pikes Peak and Baja champion. "When Porsche came to me and asked me to recommend someone, to lead Team USA in my stead, it took me a while, but in the end, I couldn't think of anyone better suited than Ryan to defend the title for Porsche and the U.S."
The Canadian Team are going back to the TransSyberia with something to prove, having had a harrowing end-over-end crash in last year's rally, effectively writing off their 2007 Cayenne S TransSyberia in the process.
"It's unfinished business, as far as I am concerned," said Nierop, a winner of the Sebring 12 Hours of Endurance and a multi-time competitor at the 24 Hour races at both Daytona and Le Mans.
"I have done a lot of things in my career," he added, "but I don't think I ever did anything that was more accurately summed up by the word 'endurance'. This rally is absolutely something else."
For Laurance Yap, last year's rally wasn't his first turn in the role of co-driver, but it was certainly the most challenging. "I had done several rallies as a co-driver," offered Yap.
"But this was far and away the toughest thing I have ever done. I was so far out of my usual comfort zone, I can't tell you. We navigated almost entirely using the GPS system supplied by the organizers and you found out quickly that just being off a few meters could be the difference between life and death! That is how we wrote off our Cayenne," he added.
The two North American teams have just returned from a test session in the South of France, and are looking forward to the official training program coming up in May in Germany.
"We are serious about the TransSyberia Rally and have made a serious commitment to it here in North America," said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. "While the on-road capabilities of the Cayenne are widely recognized, this rally is an excellent opportunity to highlight just how equally adept the Cayenne is off of the beaten path."
Once the TransSyberia Rally begins, both Porsche Cars North America and Porsche Cars Canada will be providing daily updates of the status of the two North American teams via the Internet.
-credit: porsche NA