PORSCHE'S U. S. TRANSSYBERIA RALLY TEAM COMBINES YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE AS IT ATTEMPTS TO CONQUER THE WORLD TOUGHEST RALLY ATLANTA, May 7, 2008 --- When Rod Millen's schedule would not allow him to defend his title as the winner of the 2007 ...
PORSCHE'S U. S. TRANSSYBERIA RALLY TEAM COMBINES YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE AS IT ATTEMPTS TO CONQUER THE WORLD TOUGHEST RALLY
ATLANTA, May 7, 2008 --- When Rod Millen's schedule would not allow him to defend his title as the winner of the 2007 TransSyberia Rally, he was asked who he would recommend to take over his seat in his Porsche TransSyberia Cayenne S.
"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," said the legendary rally and Pike's Peak Hillclimb champion.
For someone that is only 23 years old, Ryan Millen already has a very impressive resume. At the tender age of just 18, Millen competed in his first Baja 1000 and in the five years that followed, moved from off-road buggies into heavier, more powerful stock vehicles; in 2008, he will compete in his sixth. 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.
"I grew up in a motorsports family," says Millen. Even when I was a kid, it was natural to be around racing cars and I grew up going fast. But my decision to go racing was not made by anybody else. I enjoyed playing in the dirt all my life and racing off-road seemed like a natural extension of that." How much advice did his father give him about the rally itself? I sat down with my dad multiple times," he says. He told me about the bigger stuff like the overall strategy, day-by-day tactics and what to expect from the terrain, but some of the most important information was the small stuff. Things like how to get fuel, food or water in Mongolia. That kind of stuff."
With the cancellation of the Paris-Dakar Rally, the TransSyberia Rally, called by the elder 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. "Ryan is young, but he is mature as a driver on long-distance, endurance-type events. He's done the Baja 1000 five times and has competed in several other U.S. off-road events; his knowledge in terms of reading the terrain, taking care of the equipment and getting to the finish is second-to-none," added the proud father.
Millen's background and diverse range of interests make him a formidable competitor. In addition to his racing experience, he's an engineer, working at the family business, Millen Works, on a variety of military projects. Perhaps more importantly, he has a natural affinity for the wilderness, enjoying all manner of outdoor pursuits, including mountain biking. I just love being outdoors, he says. In the summer, I crave adventure."
Co-driving for Millen will be Colin Godby, a mechanical engineer as well as a longtime friend. Colin and I are a good match," Millen says, We're both outdoorsy and we're used to dealing with adversity and difficulty in the wilderness. We drove together in the Baja 1000 and he's an intelligent guy." "Events like TransSyberia are the ones to do with your friends," says Rod Millen, who drove with Richard Kelsey in the 2007 event. We'd driven Baja together, so we knew we worked as a team. But more important than that, it was important that we had a really good time.
We've all been confined in a small space with someone we didn't like to be around before; but not for 15 days!"
The U. S. squad will be paired with Team Canada as the North American entry in this year's TransSyberia Rally. Team leader Kees Nierop is once again joined by Co-Driver Laurance Yap who are both 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.
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. For further information on both the 2008 Porsche Cayenne S TransSyberia, go to: www.porsche.com/microsite/transsyberia2008/international.aspx. For additional information on the 2008 edition of the TransSyberia Rally, go to: www.transsyberia-rallye.de/en.