2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon takes on the Rebelle Rally
There's something about the desert, that last bastion of wild land where terrain changes faster than a New York minute.
Weather can go from blistering hot to biting cold in the course of a sunset and pretty much anything can happen.
So when I knew I'd be competing in the world class tough as nails all female navigational contest at the [INAUDIBLE] rally, I made the obvious choice for my vehicle, the all-new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
The goal of this seven-day technology pre-contest is not speed, although competitors can't dawdle, but rather navigational accuracy.
GPS is not allowed.
Just a compass and a map get us from Squaw Valley, California to the dunes of Glamis, near the Mexican border.
For seven days, my navigator, Rebecca Donaghe, and I chased easy green checkpoints, marked with a large green flag, blue checkpoints, marked by a smaller blue flag or sometimes just three-foot blue stake.
And unmarked black checkpoints.
Once a checkpoint was reached, we sent a signal back to rally HQ through our trackers, and we're back on the hunt for the next one.
There's no set route in the Rebelle Rally, so we could choose how we would drive to each checkpoint.
In the case of the black CPs, I'd drive Rebecca to the general area, and she would then use triangulation to get us to the exact point.
Rebecca is so good at this, she was once able to get us to within two meters of an unmarked checkpoint.
I still don't know how she does it.
In last year's rally our strategy was to drive as fast as legally possible between checkpoints in order to give Rebecca time to work her navigational magic once there.
This year, I wasn't so sure about that plan.
If I had taken trucks on this before, Chevy Colorado and then a Chevy Colorado ZR2.
And in both of those, I was able to go pretty fast through this stuff, right, because-
Through the [UNKNOWN] yeah.
It's got independent suspension on it.
I mean, it's got a solid [UNKNOWN] and it's got independent suspension in the front.
So it's just a little bit more nimble.
And part of our strategy is to drive as fast as we can.
That she has time at the blacks.
Within the limits.
Within the limits, of course.
So she has time at the blacks to triangulate, right?
So I was like, well, with the Jeep we're not gonna drive that fast.
I've been driving, I am shocked at how fast I've been going.
You couldn't keep up with us?
We were behind you.
You were moving.
You're completely stressing that thing out.
So looked like our strategy was going to work, but straight away we had our first problem, a big, old flat tyre.
We were able to get a spare from another competitor, so We're back in the spare game, which is awesome.
We didn't have one for all of yesterday cuz we used it.
Yep, you heard that right, we got a spare from a competitor.
While the rally doesn't allow outside help, teams can help each other as much as they want.
The 33 inch BFG K02 tires an excellent choice for the Rubicon, but if you plan on getting into the mud you should upgrade that rubber.
Rebecca and I found ourselves in the middle of a flooded lakebed in Johnson Valley, home of the infamous king of the hammer's race and although cameras weren't there to capture us digging out of twelve inches of mud, they certainly did capture the aftermath.
So, here's the thing, great for Max tracks And great wall G because once I got that thing knocked and got tiny a little bit attraction on magtrax it pops right out of that mode in that forum and all that tack and all those and get ratio was just like [UNKNOWN] so that was good [LAUGH] Coz [CROSSTALK] [UNKNOWN]
We're done, we're totally done.
While the newest Rubicon is available with a two liter turbo charged engine with a mild hybrid system, Jeep sent me the old power plant.
The tried and trued 3.6 liter V6 engine pushing out 285 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque.
But don't be fooled, this fourth generation Jeep, known as the JL, includes many small improvements that make it a much more capable vehicle overall.
Geometry is improved to an approach of 44 degrees, a breakover angle of 27.8 degrees, and departure angle of 37 degrees, while ground clearance is up nearly a full inch to 10.8 inches.
Gearing two gets a boost with a final crawl ratio of 77.2 to one for the eight speed automatic transmission or a whopping 84.2 to one if you opt for the six speed manual.
What does that mean?
Well, the bigger the crawl ratio, the more torque is put to the dirt and the easier it is to climb up and over obstacles.
During the rally, the terrain was no match for this new Rubicon.
From the rocks in Johnson Valley to the dunes of Glamis, the Rubicon made it easy.
So easy that at the end of the seven days Rebecca and I found ourselves winning the Bone Stock category as the highest scoring vehicle with no modifications.
Even better after seven days and countless point combinations we tied for first place over all with a Jeep that had larger tires and a two inch lift.
I mean like there were so many people that we would not be on this podeum with out your help and of course to team 115 becasue we did help eachother we help eachother plot we helped eachother confirm where we were and we wouldn't be up here without you guys.
They say the third time is a charm, Rebecca and I tried for two years to win The Rebelle Rally in a truck, but in the end it took a Jeep to get the job done.