Nissan: Nissan Armada ready to conquer the desert with Team Wild Grace at the 2018 Rebelle Rally

  • The Rebelle Rally, a 10-day off-road adventure with eight days of competition, is the first women’s off-road navigation rally in the United States
  • Work-from-home mothers Sedona Blinson and Leah Heffelfinger will pilot Team Wild Grace
  • Rich in off-road heritage, Armada is an ideal vehicle to navigate through the stunning and challenging terrains of the Rebelle Rally
  • The Rebelle Rally begins Oct. 11 in Lake Tahoe and will conclude Oct. 20 with a celebratory gala in San Diego

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF. – This won’t be a typical week at the office for work-from-home mothers Sedona Blinson and Leah Heffelfinger. But it will be filled with terrain familiar to the Nissan Armada. And Blinson and Heffelfinger, co-captains of Team Wild Grace, hope that fact will provide them a leg up on the competition as they traverse more than 1,500 miles of stunning off-road terrain in California and Nevada as participants in the 2018 Rebelle Rally.

The first women’s off-road navigation rally in the United States, the Rebelle Rally begins Oct. 11 in Lake Tahoe and concludes Oct. 20 in San Diego.

“The Armada draws its heritage from the global Nissan Patrol – an SUV known around the world as a King of the Desert – and is a natural fit to succeed in an off-roading challenge like the Rebelle Rally,” said Tiago Castro, director of trucks and SUVs, Nissan North America. “We are excited to watch Leah and Sedona take on the competition and show off Armada’s authentic capability as a partner in any adventure.”

Blinson, a veteran driver who has competed in the rally twice before, and Heffelfinger met at Overland Expo West five years ago and first participated in the Rebelle Rally as a team in 2017 with a Nissan Frontier PRO-4X.

“That little truck was amazing. Its light-weight stature and small footprint made it easy to manage through the tough terrain,” said Heffelfinger, an adventure-seeker from California who now resides in Flagstaff, Arizona. “What I’m really looking forward to this year, though, are the plush seats of the Armada along with its significant ground clearance.”

Team Wild Grace’s 2018 Armada Platinum is stock with the exception of a full set of dirt-grabbing Nitto Ridge Grappler tires – perfect for gripping sand and hauling through the Nevada and California deserts. It is also wrapped in a custom-designed vehicle wrap completed by IF Signs. 

Heffelfinger and Blinson will spend up to 13 hours each day in the Armada. Per the rally’s rules, no electronic devices are permitted except for rudimentary digital cameras. Teams will use maps and a compass to weave their way through some of the most scenic and challenging terrain America has to offer.

It also means Heffelfinger and Blinson will be out of touch with family for over a week.

“We’re allowed physical photos and that’s about it,” said Heffelfinger. “It’s tough to be away from home without contact for so long, but it’s our chance to get out and do something that’s just for us.” 

After finishing outside of the top 10 last year, the team fully intends to improve its ranking this year behind the wheel of the Armada.

“We take the rally quite seriously and spend hours polishing up our analog navigational skills leading up to the rally,” added Heffelfinger. “We’ve been working through previous years’ maps and are in an excellent spot for this year.”  

Follow along with Team Wild Grace on its Instagram or Facebook channels, and track the team live on rebellerally.com/live starting Friday, Oct. 12. For more information on the 2019 Nissan Armada and Nissan’s complete vehicle lineup, please visit NissanNews.com.

About the 2019 Nissan Armada
Now entering its third year, the second-generation Nissan Armada continues to set records. With no signs of this sales momentum slowing down, Armada adds to its list of standard equipment across all grade levels for the 2019 model year, including Rear Door Alert, Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (I-FCW).

As the flagship of Nissan’s expanding lineup of SUVs and crossovers, Armada features 8-passenger seating, a 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 with best-in-class1 standard 390 horsepower and standard towing capacity of 8,500 pounds for both 4WD and 2WD models (when properly equipped).

The largest and most powerful vehicle in the SUV and crossover portfolio, Armada earns its flagship status by every measure – whether performance, refinement, advanced technology and even heritage. The second-generation Armada design traces back to one of Nissan’s most beloved global off-road vehicles, the Patrol. While Armada is intended primarily for family adventures in North America, Armada owners will benefit from its underpinnings as a strong, durable and authentic full-size SUV with ruggedness to spare.

About the Rebelle Rally
The Rebelle Rally is an event with a unique challenge and scoring system where precise navigation, not speed, is the ultimate goal. Participants trade in cell phones and GPS for old-school navigation in a competition with the elements of time, distance, headings, and hidden checkpoints. Armed with just maps, compasses, and roadbooks, up to 50 teams of two will be pushed to their limits as they make their way across 2,500+ kilometers of Nevada and California’s iconic terrain. Entering its third year, to date the Rebelle Rally has hosted competitors from 139 cities, 35 states/provinces, and 7 countries. The world-class event is the longest competitive off-road rally in the lower 48, and takes place October 11th – October 20th with a start in Lake Tahoe and finish in San Diego.

About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and INFINITI vehicles can be found online at www.nissanusa.com and www.infinitiusa.com, or visit the U.S. media sites nissannews.com and infinitinews.com.

About Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2017, the company sold 5.77 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.9 trillion yen. On April 1, 2017, the company embarked on Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, a six-year plan targeting a 30% increase in annualized revenues to 16.5 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2022, along with cumulative free cash flow of 2.5 trillion yen. As part of Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, the company plans to extend its leadership in electric vehicles, symbolized by the world’s best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors in 2016. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is today the world’s largest automotive partnership, with combined sales of more than 10.6 million vehicles in calendar year 2017.

For more information about our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit nissan-global.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube.

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1. Comparison based on 2019 Nissan Armada vs. latest in-market Ward’s Large Sport Utility segment (excluding extended length vehicles).



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