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Millen Sends Hyundai Out With A Bang In GRC Finale

Image via Rhys Millen Facebook

For Rhys Millen, fielding a competitive car in the Global Rallycross Championship over the past two years hasn’t been a challenge. Driving the No. 67 Hyundai Veloster for his own Rhys Millen Racing, the 2005 Formula Drift champion and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb world record holder finished third in last year’s championship chase and made it to the main event in every race he ran this season.

But one accomplishment had always alluded Millen in the GRC—a podium finish. That changed in Tuesday’s season finale at SEMA, when Millen scored a hard-fought third place result in the last race of a successful four-year relationship with Hyundai.

Previously, Millen’s best finish in two seasons of GRC events was fourth place. He scored that in the rallycross events at both Irwindale and Pikes Peak last year, as well as at Texas and X Games this season. Entering SEMA, Millen ranked fifth in points with 48, his drop event coming in the New Hampshire race, which he skipped.

Image via Rhys Millen Facebook

Millen ran mid-pack on Monday, ranking seventh in seeding and finishing third of the three cars in his heat that day. It was only on Tuesday that things began to pick up, as the Kiwi finished third in his second heat to transfer to the main event. That race was marked by an exciting final lap in which Timur Timerzyanov, running directly ahead of Millen, broke a part landing on the jump; Timerzyanov managed to spin in front of Millen, blocking his way around, and retaining the position at the finish.

At the start of the second attempt at the main event, Millen got boxed in behind eventual winner Tanner Foust and Samuel Hubinette. Millen followed them into the shortcut on the first lap, muscling by Hubinette as they rejoined the main course. On the second lap, Brian Deegan took the shortcut and made it by Millen, cementing the eventual finishing order.

With the first podium of his GRC career, Millen managed to tie Hubinette for third in points with 63, albeit losing the tiebreaker in the final standings due to Hubinette’s second place run at New Hampshire. Millen and RMR will now focus on securing a new manufacturer partnership for the 2013 season and beyond.

– Chris Leone

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