Gazelles are now challenging the desert!

The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc has finally started! All Gazelles rushed into the desert on Wednesday March 20th: here are half-way results.

LEG 1: a gentle start

After a training day during Wednesday’s prologue, the start of leg 1 took place early on Thursday morning. The first day went by without great difficulty. All Gazelles hoped to find the 7 checkpoints before heading back to camp. The ideal distance of this leg is 115km: beyond this mileage, each kilometer counts. Failing to reach a checkpoint, losing one’s road sheet or not following rules during the race also count as penalties... the Gazelles need to stay focused!

Gazelles get ready at dawn!Gazelles get ready at dawn!
Gazelles get ready at dawn

Sophie Tapie and Kiera Chaplin, ready to go!Sophie Tapie and Kiera Chaplin, ready to go!
Sophie Tapie and Kiera Chaplin, ready to go!

 

The race starts in a landscape of small dunes with scattered clumps of camel grass, and teams have already started getting stuck. They better get used to it! At the end of this 1st leg, SAINT HONORE crew already is in 14th place in the rankings.

SAINT HONORE crew finding its way in the desert
SAINT HONORE crew finding its way in the desert

 

LEG 2: facing cauliflowers

The Gazelles face a new type of terrain, on this 2nd day: their playground is now dotted with cauliflowers, a lant hard as rock… it is therefore strongly recommended to avoid driving in these areas! In addition, there is still some camel grass just like the previous day, and Gazelles experience soft sand for the first time.

Kiera Chaplin and Sophie Tapie, from SAINT HONORE crew, on the starting line
Kiera Chaplin and Sophie Tapie, from SAINT HONORE crew, on the starting line

Rallye des Gazelles – leg 2 : new horizonsRallye des Gazelles – leg 2 : new horizons
Rallye des Gazelles – leg 2 : new horizons

Gazelles need to get used getting stuck!
Gazelles need to get used getting stuck!

 

As well as on the 1st leg, this one forms a loop and comes back to Nejjack camp. 9 checkpoints, 165km: the adventure gets harder! Kiera Chaplin and Sophie Tapie, from SAINT HONORE sponsored crew 216, climb 4 spots on the general ranking and end up in 10th place at the end of this leg.

Unexpected encounter in the desert
Unexpected encounter in the desert

 

LEG 3: a critical day in the dunes

Today is the day Gazelles finally challenge sand! This 3rd leg lead them into the Merzouga dunes: tires are deflated and everyone is off to soft sand. A difficult challenge during which it is essential for Gazelles to help each other out: they don’t think twice when they see other teams stuck in the sand. And SAINT HONORE’s crew is no exception: quick, to your shovels!

A race in the middle of dunes: such beautiful landscapes!A race in the middle of dunes: such beautiful landscapes!
A race in the middle of dunes: such beautiful landscapes!

SAINT HONORE team experiencing some difficulties
SAINT HONORE team experiencing some difficulties

 

This leg was full of obstacles, and ranking naturally changed: our two Gazelles from team 216 end back in 14th place.

After all that effort, some unexpected time for relaxation: due to heavy rains, it was decided to cancel leg 4.

 

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Photos : Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc