Rolls-Royce Cullinan Powers to a win at the Rebelle Rally

Rolls-Royce Cullinan at the Rebelle Rally
Rolls-Royce Cullinan Photo: James Lipman

Rebecca Donaghe and Emme Hall drive their Rolls-Royce Cullinan to a wild win in the California desert.

On the same historic day that two women made history with the first all-female spacewalk, two exceptional women set a record in the deserts of California becoming back-to-back champions of America’s premier off-road rally. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars today congratulates Team #200 on taking top honors in the Crossover Class at the 2019 Rebelle Rally.

In 2018 the pair took top honors in the 4×4 off-road class.  Facing a grueling eight-day challenge head-on, the team succeeded with grace and strength that truly reflects the spirit of adventure shared with their ride, a Bespoke Rolls-Royce Cullinan. For 2,300 kilometers, the longest off-road rally in the country, the team battled some of the toughest terrains in the United States to finish in first place at the top of the podium.

Two drivers navigating the Rebelle Rally in the California Desert
Photo by Tim Calver

Driver, Emme Hall, and navigator, Rebecca Donaghe took their ‘Team 200’ Cullinan through a challenge very few will encounter, facing their struggles head-on as they traversed mountains, valleys, salt flats, and treacherous desert sand dunes. When Rolls-Royce Motor Cars designed Cullinan, they envisioned an ‘effortless everywhere’ experience, and this test was just one more example of their accomplishment as well as demonstrations of the evolution of the Rolls-Royce brand and its daring clientele.

“By taking this epic experience in the Rebelle Rally and doing it in a way that is even more epic, was a complete honor and privilege,” exclaim Rebecca Donaghe and Emme Hall as they finished each other’s sentences at the finish line.

“The idea that we could do something that people may have thought was absolutely wild and come out on the top was a greater challenge and one we were excited to accept. The Cullinan became like a third teammate to us and will forever be in our hearts as a fierce competitor.”

Over the eight-day journey, the team spent more than 80 hours in the Bespoke leather seats, navigating and driving together to victory.

“I’m proud to be associated with these talented and wonderful ladies,” said Martin Fritsche’s, President and CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Americas.

“They competed the way we build each Rolls-Royce Motor Commission, with precision, power, and grace. This performance sets aside any questions about the capabilities of Cullinan in the real world.”

The Rebelle Rally, entering its fourth year, is the first all-female off-road navigational rally in the United States. The event has a unique challenge and scoring system where precise navigation and timing, not speed, is the ultimate goal. Participants trade in cell phones and GPS for ‘old-school navigation’ in a competition against the elements of time, distance, headings, and hidden checkpoints.

Armed only with maps, compasses, and roadbooks, 50 teams of two were pushed to their limits as they made their way across 2,300 kilometers of Nevada and California’s iconic terrain.

Teams could only utilize the supplies they carried in their vehicles, requiring not only precise navigation, fearless driving, but also meticulous planning. Cullinan provided the Hall-Donaghe duo more than enough room and a luxurious ride through the adventure. The Cullinan performed without any issues, although the rocks and paths of the California mountains did take a toll on their tires, forcing the team to complete the final two days without either of their two original spares.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Photo: James Lipman
Rolls-Royce Cullinan Photo: James Lipman

The Drivers

Leading the Cullinan through this incredible adventure is the co-champion Rally team of Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe. This team has been competing together since 2016 and were both parts of the first Rally four years ago. Emme Hall resides in Oakland and has been an automotive journalist with CNET since 2015. Navigator Rebecca is originally from Houston but now resides in Marina Del Rey where she works as a producer. Their combined skill sets complement each other and make for one unbelievable dynamic duo.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan Most Valuable Feature

Key to the creation of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV is the new Architecture of Luxury – Rolls-Royce’s proprietary all-aluminum architecture. Introduced with the new Phantom in 2017. Cullinan uses this new architecture to deliver elegant Rolls-Royce design and presence with uncompromised comfort, space, and usability.

Technological Showcase

The integration of new technologies into the architecture was also key to ensuring the fundamental quality of Cullinan as Effortless, Everywhere. The engineering team began by creating a drivetrain that would bring Rolls-Royce’s famous ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ off-road.

Want to know more about the car? See the Cullinan’s fine details.

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