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Rebelle Rally Recap: BAJA FORGED-customized 2024 KIA Telluride X-Pro Claims Third-Place Finish

  • Verena Mei (driver) and Susie Saxten (navigator) successfully completed the 2023 Rebelle Rally, earning third place in the X-Cross™️ class

  • The BAJA-FORGED-modified 2024 Telluride X-Pro crossed the finish line mostly unscathed after traversing rocky trails, deep washes, and steep sand dunes

  • 2023 marks the fourth time Kia has landed on the podium in the grueling multi-day rally

Shown, (L-R) Susie Saxton (navigator), Verena Mei (driver), Theresa Contreras (builder/trainer). 
The BAJA FORGED-modified 2024 KIA Telluride X-Pro finishes third at the 2023 Rebelle Rally

After eight days of intense off-road competing across 1,500 miles throughout Nevada and California, Verena Mei (driver) and Susie Saxten (navigator) ripped through the finish line with their 2024 Telluride X-Pro outfitted by BAJA FORGED to earn a third-place, podium finish in the X-Cross class of the 2023 Rebelle Rally, the first women's off-road navigation rally raid in the United States.

"We couldn't be prouder of our team's exceptional performance this year in the Rebelle Rally," said Steven Center, COO & EVP, Kia America. "Verena and Susie's unwavering determination, combined with the enhanced capability of the custom Telluride X-Pro, truly set them apart as a dominant force out there in the dirt.

The Telluride X-Pro featured several upgrades, including a skid plate, roof rack, and front and rear bumpers from Southern California-based BAJA FORGED. The new bumpers helped increase the SUV's approach and departure angles, along with the 1.5-inch suspension lift to improve its off-road capability with nearly 10 inches of ground clearance.

It finished the rally without experiencing any major issues, and never once did the team need to change a tire.

"The Telluride X-Pro is the most capable vehicle I've driven in the Rebelle Rally and it delivered exceptionally well," said Mei. "We only had to dig ourselves out a few times compared to other teams, and it kept up with some of our fiercest competitors out in the dunes."

The 2024 Telluride is the fourth to land KIA on the podium, following a 2021 second and third-place win from a pair of Sorento crossovers, which BAJA FORGED also had a hand in modifying.

"Consistency is the key to performing well in the Rebelle Rally" noted Saxten. "The Telluride X-Pro didn't disappoint in that aspect and proved itself as a dependable third teammate, helping us secure a third-place win."

"I’m excited we could be part of the KIA team again," says Theresa Contreras, CEO/designer of BAJA FORGED. "We’re so proud of their third place finish and look forward to next year's Rally."


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