The 2021 Rebelle Rally was packed with electrified vehicles with plug-in hybrids and battery-electric models competing in both the 4×4 and X-Cross classes. This year’s biggest highlight is that these vehicles dominated the podium.
Jeep, a longtime participant and sponsor of the Rebelle Rally, dominated the field with the Wrangler 4xe taking first and second place. Team 4xEventure (Team 129) consisting of Nena Barlow and Teralin Petereit took the overall win and the Bone Stock category this year. They were also the top-scoring electrified vehicle with the team taking the most points in four of the seven stages and always placing third or higher. In second place was Team Jeep Thrills(Team 177) consisting of mother-daughter duo Christine and Emily Benzie. They took one stage win and were always in the Top 10. This was their third podium in the Bone Stock category and their first overall podium finish.
Jeep also teamed up with Team Asdzáá Skoden Rebelles (team 160), the first all-Navajo team to compete in the Rebelle Rally. Shandiina Peters and Racquel Black piloted a Wrangler 4xe and finished 29th overall. Every Wrangler 4xe that Jeep entered competed in the Bone Stock category because they came straight from the manufacturer. The only modifications allowed are aftermarket tires and wheels but they need to retain the factory-spec sizes. Including Jeep’s entries, over a third of the field drove Wranglers.
Rounding out the top 5 in the 4×4 class was the 2021 Rivian R1T driven by Team Killer Watt (Team 140) consisting of Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe. This is the second time the pair entered the truck in the Rebelle Rally because last year they were behind the wheel of a preproduction R1T prototype.
In the X-Cross class, more electrified vehicles made podium finishes. The two Kia Sorento PHEVs landed in second and third place. Team Giggle Watts (team 206) of Verena Mei and Tana White consistently placed in the top three during the seven days, only falling to fourth place on the last day. Team Watt Girl Summer (Team 205) consisting of Sabrina Howells and Alyssa Roenigk placed in the top three on days two to six. Both Sorento PHEVs also qualified for the Electrified category, which was added last year and applies to hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs.
Volkswagen’s ID.4 AWD placed eighth overall in the X-Cross class. It was driven by Mercedes Lilienthal and Emily Winslow who partnered with Volkswagen of America. The ID.4 AWD was upgraded with skid plates, additional battery protection, tubular control arms, beefier suspension components, a Thule roof rack, and all-terrain tires. The 2021 Rebelle Rally is the ID.4’s second off-road event following its participation in the NORRA Mexican 1000 with Tanner Foust Racing and Rhys Millen Racing.
The number of electrified vehicles at the 2021 Rebelle Rally is a sign of things to come for next year’s event. As manufacturers continue to electrify their lineups, more of them will find their way into competitive events. Expect to see Jeep’s Grand Cherokee 4xe follow its legendary sibling to find its way into off-road events like the Rebelle Rally in the future. Kia, Nissan, Porsche, and other automakers could eventually enter their upcoming electrified models into the event to prove their mettle and show their potential.