Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc : a real adventure!

Two SAINT HONORE teams are currently in the Moroccan desert on the 28th edition of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc, a unique off-road rally for women only. How do they experience this adventure?

Two passionate teams on a bumpy ride

The 504 crew, with Kiera Chaplin and Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, is participating to the race in the electronic vehicles category. Each part of the race has been adapted for such type of vehicle since it will have more difficulties going through dunes, unlike 4x4s.
Since their departure on Saturday, 17 March in Monaco and the gathering in Nice, the 504 “Gazelles” brilliantly passed the prologue and the first two Legs, earning the first place in their category. Despite their excellent performance, they were penalized on the 3rd day: they unfortunately lost their road book, which testifies their presence at check points. And there it was: 80 penalty points and the first place is now unreachable! What a pity, but never mind, it is not only about the final score, and our Kiera-Jazmin duo keeps on with the rally adventure with the same determination.


Jazmin Grace Grimaldi and Kiera Chaplin ready for leg 4


504 crew electric car in the middle of moroccan desert

It is another story for the second SAINT HONORE crew, with Carole Montillet-Carles et Sylvie Godeau Gellie. From the very beginning, they showed to be a very discreet team, yet the two experienced “Gazelles” did a perfect race and quickly secured the first place … until the third leg of the rally. Because of a finish line reached at night time and a decreasing visibility, the 246 crew happened to bypass a mountain instead of driving straight ahead. A costly mistake: it led to 4 additional kms and the team fell at the 6th position on the general ranking.

These two teams are currently on a marathon leg: 2 Legs over 4 days with no mechanical assistance nor refueling, and only a makeshift camp. The “Gazelles” are in complete autonomy under the stars! The finish line will then be at Essaouira over the weekend.


Carole drives the 4x4 while Sylvie warns the presence of the vehicle at the top of the dune


246 crew in the middle of the dunes

 

Slow and steady wins the race

The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles offers a new vision of automobile competition: it is not about speed, and no GPS is used, in favour of old-fashioned – exclusively off-road – navigation.

What is the rally’s concept?
Each Leg is made of one or more itinerary more or less challenging, with a series of predefined checkpoints to reach. Their goal is to reach these checkpoints while driving the shortest distance, no matter how much time it takes. Every morning, the Gazelles analyze a map with the geographic coordinates of the checkpoints to reach that day. Then it is up to them to plan their strategy and plot the best itinerary.


The map of leg 3, with the different check points

The crews were obviously given a compass and… that’s it! No GPS or phones are allowed on the rally. Once in the desert, the reality is often quite different from what they had planned on their map; they need to cope with the field, obstacles, the weather, or the vehicle which can be damaged in desert.

In the end, a general ranking is made based on the driven kilometers and the possible penalties, if checkpoints were not reached for example.


Real-time tracking allows you to see the ideal path and route of the vehicle

Common values with SAINT HONORE

Saint Honoré is committed to this 100% female rally, since it corresponds with the brand's essential values: surpassing one's own limits, sharing, team spirit and, of course, elegance!

Photos and map : Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc