The third leg leads the competitors back to the bivouac in Neijakh, close to Erfoud.
A long leg, 219 kilometres (minimum) to cover in an estimated time of
11 hrs 50 mins for the top teams, who are neck and neck (or "wheel and
wheel") in the general ranking. Fatigue is becoming a factor, and both
navigators and pilots must redouble their efforts to be vigilant. On
leaving the camp, the Gazelles will be on paved road for about 50 km.
The first two checkpoints are located along the road, which doesn't
prevent some teams from driving right by without noticing them... At
CP4 they are given their roadbook for the rest of the leg. They plot
their points then head off through a small row of dunes, just a taste
of sand before tomorrow's leg in the dunes of Merzouga. The
route continues through muddy oueds, camel grass and rocky plains
dotted with curious bushes petrified by the sand, commonly known as
"cauliflowers"... There are few landmarks to navigate by. As for the
landscape, the Iferda Amejjoud plateau, which extends all the way to Midelt, is incredible green this year, fragrant with yellow wildflowers as far as the eye can see.
The weather is mild, with a bit of rain in the afternoon.
ACTEMIUM / Banque CIC 101
Catherine HOULES and Mélanie SUCHET in an ISUZU D-MAX
Mélanie Suchet and her teammate reach CP6D at the same time as the buggy driven by her friend Carole Montillet. Slowly but surely (more than an hour after the first vehicle passes) they reach CP8 8. They end up in 5th place for the leg.
ALVERGNAS AUTOMOBILES / RABOBANK 103
Angélique ALVERGNAS and Sidonie DUBRULE in a TOYOTA KDJ 120
After their major navigation error on the first day of competition, the Gazelles are navigating a straight course; bit by bit they are making up for their slow start and this evening they climb one spot in the ranking. They have a very good leg and are now 3rd in the general ranking.
PROVOST / CAISSE EPARGNE Idf 107
Frédérique BRIOIS-BOIZAND and Fabienne LALANDE in a JEEP WRANGLER
"Edition 0", as these Gazelles call this, their first, Rallye.
Somewhat out of their depth this year through lack of experience, they are already thinking ahead to next year's edition: improvements to the vehicle, better preparation... "If we end up in the top 20 in the First Participation Ranking, our sponsor, Ségécé Groupe
Klepierre BNP Paribas, will double the stakes" explains Fabienne.
MAISONS FAMILIALES / SOCIETE GENERALE 118
Anne-France MOISAND and Karine DENOIS RACT GRAS in a TOYOTA HDJ 100
Anne first met Karine, who is a physiotherapist, after last year's Rallye during which she sprained her ankle. They decided to try the adventure together, and are doing extremely well. Karine is a firefighter with hiking and orienteering experience; their driving is also solid. In fact, things are going so well that they finish the 3rd leg in 4th position in the General Ranking.
GROUPE ADAO / LCL 122
Catherine KERAMIDAS and Isabelle CHARLES in a TOYOTA HILUX
"The day started well, by 8:00 and we already had 3 checkpoints" says Catherine around midday. The day would continue in the same vein. The team was among the first to reach CP4D at 13:00, and went on to reach all of the other checkpoints. The Gazelles weren't late for the showers this evening!
Gazelles des Sancerre / Banque CIC BRO 125
Claudine AMAT and Catherine CORBEAU-MELLOT in a LAND ROVER DISCOVERY
This is the second Rallye for Claudine, the first for her teammate. They found today's leg long and difficult. Although sure of their navigation, they often end up circling around the checkpoints, and still make mistakes in interpreting the maps... But spirits are high in the truck, and that's the main thing!
CCI de Sète / SOCIETE GENERALE 161
Caroline PEREZ and Stéphanie GRANET-MONTEIRO in a TOYOTA KZJ 90
Caroline and Stéphanie form the first team to be sent by the French Police National to take part in an auto rally of any kind. Skilled drivers, the Gazelles are still hesitant in navigation and tend to follow the trails and rely on other teams. On average, they reach half of the checkpoints per leg: not bad for a first participation.
EXCO / AGF 167
Sophie France DE L'EPINE GASTINE and Isabelle DE L'EPINE in a LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110
Always on the heels of the fastest teams, the sisters only spend a few moment at each CP; they have made it a point of honour to finish every leg with all of the checkpoints.
BMCE Bank 193
Majda OUARAFANA and Sanaa CHAIDI in an ISUZU D-MAX
After some adjustments at the beginning of the race, the Moroccan team of the Brink's Challenge is slowly but surely navigating through each leg. Today they return to the bivouac with 4 CPs. Exhausted, they preferred to get back early and rest before tomorrow leg in the dunes.