ATLANTA, August 17 /CNW/ - Driving their Team North America Porsche
Cayenne S Transsyberia, Rod Millen and Richard Kelsey outlasted a field of 39
vehicles over more than two weeks and 4,400 miles to score a 17-minute win in
2007 Transsyberia Rallye, one of the world's toughest off-road marathons.
After a two-week drive from Moscow to Ulan Bator, Mongolia, (the same
distance from Alaska to the Panama Canal) Rod Millen and co-driver Richard
Kelsey - both New Zealand-born rallyists now living in the United States,
reached the finish in the capital of Mongolia earlier today, and the challenge
for both man and machine impressed the veteran rallyist.
Millen, a resident of Tustin, Calif., said, "That was the biggest
motorsport challenge of my life. In these two weeks we all made mistakes, both
the drivers and the navigators alike. Richard and I were simply the ones to
make the least number of errors. The keys to success at such an unbelievably
hard marathon are experience and caution. We knew where we had to drive slowly
and where we could drive the Cayenne to its limit. The Cayenne handled and
performed impressively on the quick sections. And off-road, the Porsche
constantly surprised me with it capabilities."
With no pace notes or pre-running practice, Millen pointed out that
co-driver Kelsey played a vital role in the victory.
"We spent the better part of the first two weeks learning the vehicle and
being cautious about the conditions, and then turned it on the last couple of
days. Richard set the pace, pulling me back when I was trying to go too fast,
and forcing me to be patient when the terrain was rough."
It was also the first time Millen had rallied in a luxury vehicle, and
said that being comfortable and not taking a pounding during the event made a
"Having run endurance rallies and off-road races like the Baja 1000 and
the Rally of Malaysia, I can tell you that being strapped in a racing seat
with a car that has a hard suspension makes your insides rattle. This Cayenne
was so comfortable that Richard and I did not take a beating, yet so durable
that the vehicle is in perfect shape today at the finish. There is no question
that we could start another two-week rally today with the same Cayenne," said
Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia competitors also placed second and third.
Second was Italy's 1 team with Antonio Tognana and Carlo Cassina, while the
Quatar team with Adel Abdulla and Norbert Lutteri reached the finish to claim
third, 23 minutes behind the winner. In fact, seven of the top 10 finishers
were driving the special edition Porsche Cayenne S.
Making their debut in the Transsyberia Rallye, the all-new 2008 Porsche
Cayenne S Transsyberia models are specially built and prepared by Porsche for
long distance rallies. They have been modified primarily to meet required
safety regulations (roll cages and padding; additional safety belts, etc) and
to enhance off-road durability (skid plates; auxiliary lighting, etc). The
mechanical components of these specially prepared Cayennes remain unchanged
including their new 4.8-liter, 385 horsepower direct injection engines.
The other North American team still running at the finish was the Jeff
Zwart/Paul Dallenbach Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, which finished 11th
after dropping as low as 22nd place after an early mishap at one of the water
crossings. The Canadian team of Kees Nierop and Laurance Yap had a crash
earlier in the week and were unable to continue.
Rod Millen moved to the United States in the mid-'70s winning five SCCA
National rally titles as well as the FIA Asia-Pacific rally championship. He
is perhaps better known for his Baja off-road titles, his Pikes Peak wins, and
Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group stadium championships. He even has a
sports car endurance victory - the GTU title at the 1989 24 Hours of Daytona -
to his credit.
Over the course of the rally, four different teams were in the lead.
Establishing themselves at the front of the field on the first leg through
Russia, over the Urals and into Siberia were the ex-European rally champion
Armin Schwarz (Austria) with his co-driver Oliver Hilger (Germany). Up until
day nine the duo retained the lead with their Cayenne S Transsyberia. However,
three punctures on the first leg in Mongolia cost the Germany 1 team its top
position. On the 13th leg an accident put a stop to their charge. A British
Toyota Landcruiser took over first place for the next two days until they
became bogged down in a mud hole.
Dr. Erik Brandenburg and his co-driver Stefan Preuss (both Germany)
promptly moved into the lead with their self-rebuilt 911 Carrera from 1975.
With this car, a 2,200-pound rear wheel drive 911, they dominated the 177-mile
stage 12 from Altai to Bayankhor in Mongolia, but lost positions over the
course of the following day due to deep water crossings to finish ninth.
Final results (top ten):
1. Rod Millen/Richard Kelsey, Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, 13:42.28.59
2. Antonio Tognana/Carlo Cassina, Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia,
17.19.48 mins behind
3. Adel Abdulla/Norbert Lutteri, Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, 23.14.42
4. Lars Kern/Daniel van Kann, Suzuki Grand Vitara, 1:12.23.44 hours
5. Pau Soler/Laia Peinado, Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, 1:19.21.80 hrs
6. Simon Garnham/Matt Garnham, Toyota Landcruiser, 1:44.10.14 hrs
7. Rene Metge/Silvain Reisser, Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, 2:15.23.80
8. Oliver Schmidt/Thomas Konig, Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia,
9. Dr. Erik Brandenburg/Stefan Preuss, Porsche Carrera, 2:42.26.33 hrs
10. Karim Al-Azhari/Blair Cole, Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia,
Complete, official results are posted on the official rally web site,
For further information:
For further information: Porsche Cars North America, Inc. Bob Carlson,
770-290-3676 or Andy Schupack, 401-741-6980