The third leg was something of a transition for the Gazelles today.
Without going so far as to call it a break, this looped route northeast of Erfoud was more of a long joyride than a technical challenge. On the rocky plateaus crisscrossed with trails - not necessarily easy to find your way around - the participants tried to reach 8 checkpoints before returning to the bivouac by a long paved road.
After last night's sand storm, clear skies this morning seemed to announce a reprieve. Not so: the blue turned to menacing grey as the clouds blew in, bringing with them strong gusts and a few drops of rain. The afternoon was changeable with clouds alternating with periods of brilliant sunshine. Is is the Chergui or the Siroco? Either way, the wind took a toll...
This morning, Team 191 FEMME ACTUELLE / TOYOTA (Nathalie Vincent and Anne-Gaëlle Riccio) passed straight through the start line...
the Gazelles decided to sleep out in the desert, to be more rested for
the next leg of the competition. Arriving at the bivouac this morning
around 8:00, they took the time to eat breakfast and then left for Leg
3... without stopping at the start line to have their odometer reading recorded, essential
for validating their performance. As a result, the competitors had to
retrace their steps. The error cost them half an hour but no penalty points, as their odometer reading was recorded at the time of their second start.
The news is confirmed for Valérie Defert and Laure Manent – Team 202 FRANCE 24 / NISSAN.
yesterday's accident, their 4WD Patrol could not be repaired and the
Gazelles, now officially Unranked, must give up the race. The
journalists from France 24 will spend two more days at the bivouac before returning to Paris, deeply disapointed. Hang in there, and bravo for taking part in the Rallye. We hope to see you back next time!
As of today it's Tolerance Zero when it comes to safety and the sporting regulations. The Gazelles are not allowed to follow each other, have to stop within 100m of the CP they are cheking off, must wear their helmets and seatbelts... No more warnings, from now on there will be sanctions!
Watch out! Today the CPs don't work in quite the same way as in the earlier legs. The road book for the various routes wil only be given at CP4.
The first three checkpoints are common to the 119 teams this morning,
and will be relatively easy to access as they are along the road.
2 teams slept outside the bivouac last night
will arrive this morning to start Leg 3, a little late. In fact, the
CPs of a leg close in the evening, but the Gazelles have until noon the
next day to reach the bivouac and start the next leg with no late penalty.
The morning is off to a good start for these two! Catherine and Olivia, the Gazelles of Team 196 Inter Hôtel Océan CapBreton got their Toyota D-Max stuck in a mini-dune just 20 metres from the start line. Their neighbours came to dig them out by hand. One problem dealt with, in less time than it takes to say "Solidarity"!
It's not easy getting up at 4:00 day after day! Something of a laborious start this morning for Leg 3 of the Rallye. Increasingly tired, the Gazelles were late for
breakfast, and therefore also late at the start line. After 5 minutes, the sherrif calls the next car and the absent team is sent to the back of the line.