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.
DS MAGAZINE / TOYOTA / ASSOCIATION LES ENFANTS D'ARLEQUIN 138
Florence MIGRAINE BOURGNON and Corentine QUINIOU in a TOYOTA LAND CRUISER
The girls are first to reach CP6D, 40 minutes ahead of the estimated time... "We found a trail that didn't exist two years ago... unless we just hadn't noticed it" laughs Florence, "It followed our heading exactly." And they pay close attention to their heading, these Gazelles, who are 2nd in the general ranking, and less than 3 km from first place.
ELLE MAGAZINE / TOYOTA / ASSOCIATION FORCEFEMMES.COM 139
Aude BARREAU AIRIEV and Nathalie PELLERIN in a TOYOTA HILUX
The Gazelles start the day with a spot of mechanics: they lose the nut on the axle holding the suspension arm. After removing the
wheel, they begin the search for a number 18 bolt, which they end up finding on their truck: they have to remove the rear bar to get it. They keep going but get lost between CP4 and 5, reaching 6 before finding 5. Along the way, their rear axle breaks. The Gazelles are forced to turn back and take the road to the bivouac. A major disappointment for the Gazelles, who are determined to keep going all the way to Essaouira no matter what it takes!
EUROSPORT / NISSAN / ASSOCIATION IKDC 185
Clémence and Olivia JOYEUX in a NISSAN PATROL
"It's a mess!" cry the two Gazelles on reaching CP6 at 14:00:
"We had an awful day, we're navigating badly, it's because we're tired, we made mistakes in our kilometres, we followed the trail... ". But spirits are high in vehicle 185.
QUESTIONS DE FEMMES / TOYOTA / JEVEUXAIDER.COM 188
Cindy FABRE and Isabelle LAMANT in a TOYOTA LAND CRUISER
The girls, always a little unsure of their navigation, circle for a while around CP4 with some other Gazelles. In fact, they had plotted it correctly but just got a little distracted along the way... Then the adventure continues: they get stuck on some thyme bushes, which they have to rip out from under the truck before they can go on! They head back, pass through CP8 along the way, and make straight for the bivouac without even unfolding the map...
FEMME ACTUELLE / TOYOTA / ASSOCIATION
LES JARDINS DE LA MONTAGNE VERTE 191
Nathalie VINCENT and Anne-Gaëlle
RICCIO in a TOYOTA HILUX
After spending the night in the dunes, the Gazelles reach the bivouac in the morning and leave again at 11:00 for today's leg. They decide to go for the most CPs possible in spite of their late start. They reach CP4, miss CP5, then make un unfortunate mistake in calculating their heading for the road to the bivouac. They end up in a parallel valley, at the bottom of a steep-sided oued. As night falls, they get stuck on the rocks. Mechanical assistance is on its way; the girls are almost certain to spend another night under the stars.
TV MAGAZINE/ ISUZU / ASSOCIATION ELA 192
Valérie BEGUE Miss France and Alexandra ROSENFELD Miss France / Miss Europe in a ISUZU D-MAX
The "Misses" reach CP3, get their roadbook and are the first to reach CP4. Overjoyed, they continue confidently on their way before realizing, an hour later, that they are completely lost! The Race PC contacts them on the Iritrack phone to inform them that they are heading for the Algerian border... Around 16:00 they give up all hope of finding any more checkpoints and return to the bivouac... without realizing that they were only 40 km from CP5!
CITADINE / ISUZU /ASSOCIATION AFAK 194
Silvina PINEIRO ARAMBURU and Stéphanie FENESTRAZ in an ISUZU D-MAX
"This leg was very difficult in terms of navigation; we had a herd time finding landmarks. At one point we spotted two while dots on the plain. We set out along this heading, and as we got closer we realised that they were... two donkeys! We just burst out laughing!
FRANCE 24 / NISSAN / ASSOCIATION AZEKKA 202
Laure MANENT and Valérie DEFERT in a NISSAN PATROL
The adventure is over for Team 202. As their vehicle could not be repaired, the Gazelles will be flying back to Paris tomorrow.