Nissan: Nissan Armada powers Team Wild Grace to strong finish at the 2018 Rebelle Rally

SAN DIEGO – After 10 days, 1,600 miles and innumerable coffees, Sedona Blinson and Leah Heffelfinger crossed the finish line of the third-annual Rebelle Rally behind the wheel of “Babe,” a 2018 Nissan Armada1. The work-from-home mothers finished an impressive 11th out of 41 total entries, out-performing 30 off-road competitors.

The 2018 Rebelle Rally, the only women’s off-road navigation rally in the United States, is a 10-day off-road adventure that began Oct. 11 in Lake Tahoe and concluded Oct. 20 in San Diego.

“Rich in off-road heritage, we felt Armada was an ideal vehicle to navigate through the stunning and challenging terrains of the Rebelle Rally – and Team Wild Grace made us proud,” said Tiago Castro, director of trucks and SUVs, Nissan North America. “Congratulations to Leah and Sedona, and thank you for showing the world how capable and comfortable the Armada really is.”

“Babe” competed in the Bonestock category – created for stock, unmodified vehicles to provide a platform within the 4×4 and Crossover classes. Heffelfinger noted that fellow competitors originally were surprised to see the Armada alongside other 4×4 Bonestock entries, but by the end, people had a “newfound respect” for the Armada’s capabilities.

“The Bonestock category was designed to prove that the vehicle in your driveway is more capable than you think it is, and the Armada proved exactly that,” said Heffelfinger, an adventure-seeker from California who now resides in Flagstaff, Ariz. “‘Babe’ proved to be a powerhouse, dominating whoops, crawling up large and rocky hill climbs with ease in 4-Low. The fact that we came in 11th of 41 vehicles proves the Armada is every bit as capable as its competitors.”

Competition days were long and challenging, beginning at sunrise and often lasting well past sunset with few breaks in between. Team Wild Grace said the shortened checkpoint time restraints made this year’s Rally especially challenging.


For Blinson – a veteran navigator who has now completed her third Rebelle Rally – one day stood out among the rest.

“In Glamis (California), there was a particularly long, washed-out section of dunes where the Armada truly showed its agility,” said Blinson. “After getting the tire pressure just right, the Armada powered up and glided down huge dunes with ease, and the V8 engine provided a ton of power, allowing Babe to float in the sand. I really appreciated having a bit longer wheelbase than competitors, as well as the independent front and rear suspension.” 

While the vehicle’s ability to forge through sand and crawl over rocks was crucial for completing the mission, Team Wild Grace said ‘little luxuries’ inside the cabin of the 2018 Armada also helped push them to the finish line. They noted the spacious interior, Remote Engine Start System, power liftgate and front and rear seat heaters as amenities that made the adventure more comfortable.

Per the rally’s rules, no electronic devices were permitted except for rudimentary digital cameras – meaning teams had to use maps and a compass as they weaved their way through some of the most scenic and challenging terrain America has to offer.

“Since we were unable to utilize the cameras on the vehicle, the tilting side mirrors were especially handy,” said Blinson. “The large amount of enclosed space was also fantastic – even with an extra spare tire we had more than enough room, and the Armada was comfortable for both driver and navigator. We had no worries of driver fatigue or the navigator needing to work in a tight space with large maps and gear.”

By the end of the 10-day marathon, Blinson and Heffelfinger departed San Diego understandably exhausted but already looking forward to next year’s competition.

“I’m still in shock that I have now completed my second Rally – something I never thought I’d do at all, let alone twice,” said Heffelfinger. “I’m proud of how we did, and I am so pleased to have completed the Rally in the Armada.”

For more information on the 2019 Nissan Armada and Nissan’s complete vehicle lineup, please visit







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 eight-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.

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 and, or visit the U.S. media sites and

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.

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Wendy Orthman
Senior Manager, Truck Brand Communications


1. Vehicle provided by Nissan.