22eme édition - du 17 au 31 mars 2012

Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles

La référence féminine depuis 1990

BRINK'S Challenge

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BRINK'S Challenge

Leg 6, second marathon

Today is the second marathon leg, leading from Mhamid to Foum-Zguid over an estimated distance of 280 km as the crow flies and a race time of about 21 hours. This last leg is very challenging for the tired Gazelles. Following the edge of the Drâa, the first part of the route is very sandy - old river sand, more like silt. Expanses of small dunes of soft sand, powdery as flour. As the sun climbs high in the sky, reference points become blurred, rendering navigation difficult. Then, once they get through this hellish strip, the Gazelles receive their reward: Erg Chegaga. Sand dunes as far as the eye can see. Two optional X checkpoints are placed inside the erg, and the top teams spend un unforgettable night in the dunes. The other Gazelles get to play in the sand as well, of course, but stay lower down, near the edge of the erg. Early in the morning on the second day they leave the dunes by the dried bed of Lake Iriki. The last checkpoints are placed around Jebel Amssaïlikh and, for the last day, they close at 18:00. Everyone comes together at the bivouac near Foum-Zguid to celebrate, whatever their standing at the end of the race.

ACTEMIUM / Banque CIC 101
Catherine HOULES and Mélanie SUCHET in an ISUZU D-MAX

This was a difficult Rallye for these two experienced Gazelles, competing together for the first time. After some problems navigating, they only reached checkpoint 3 on the first day of the marathon. Although used to the X route through the dunes, they chose to stay on the edge of the erg and wait to tackle the sand early the next morning. Catherine turned over the wheel to Mélanie, who really enjoyed herself driving in the dunes. They finished exhausted but satisfied. This was Mélanie's 6th edition, and Catherine's 7th...

ALVERGNAS AUTOMOBILES / RABOBANK 103
Angélique ALVERGNAS and Sidonie DUBRULE in a TOY OTA KDJ 120

After their navigation error near the beginning of the race, these Gazelles slowly but surely made up for lost kilometres, ending the race on the second step of the podium. In spite of a wheel off the rim, a flat tire and ripping part of the bumper off on a tuft of camel grass, the girls were quite relaxed on this last day in the dunes, and kept to their headings. They finished second in the general ranking, and won the Brink's Challenge for the second consecutive year. The Brink’s Challenge brought together 21 teams, sponsored in part by financial institutions, and offered a 20,000 Euro prize to the winners, which will be used to develop rural tourism projects in Morocco

PROVOST / CAISSE EPARGNE Idf 107
Frédérique BRIOIS-BOIZAND and Fabienne LALANDE in a JEEP WRANGLER

Showing true Rallye spirit, the Gazelles struggled to dig a Kangoo out of the sand, determined not to abandon the girls to the hellish dried bed of Oued Draa on the first day. As Fred said, it’s the perfect place to film a horror movie! The girls bivouacked at 3C around a roaring campfire... Ambiance, ambiance. They set out again early in the morning but had so much trouble finding CP4 that they decided to head straight for the bivouac, where a party was organized to celebrate the end of the race. 

MAISONS FAMILIALES / SOCIETE GENERALE 118
Anne-France MOISAND and Karine DENOIS RACT GRAS in a TOYOTA HDJ 100

This marathon leg really lived up to its name! The Gazelles had to change a shock absorber, all by themselves, before tackling the dunes of Chegaga. “Not for anything in the world would we have missed this night in the dunes that the other Gazelles talk about so much! What a feeling around the campfire; we were ten or fifteen teams partying together.” This team, including one novice, ran a good race, reaching their objective of getting to every checkpoint! “We drank in the scenery, this is quite an experience”, says Karine, kissing the last checkpoint as the photographers click away.  


R. MONNOT / CREDIT MUTUEL 121
Valérie and Virginie BERNARD in a TOYOTA LAND CRUISER

The Bernard sisters drove a good race in their splendid 4WD. As they were not targeting the podium, they were able to enjoy every moment of the race, while following in the tracks of the best teams. The difference was in the number of kilometres driven. Unfortunately, the vehicle packed it in before they reached the last checkpoint: a leak forced them to drive straight to the bivouac. But they will always have their memories of a night under the stars and their arrival at CP4X, where André Manoukian and Natacha Saint Pierre were waiting for the Gazelles.

DESJARDINS 130
Canadian team Josée SEGUIN and Émilie ROBILLARD in a NISSAN NAVARRA

These Canadian Gazelles are happy with their Rallye. They reached their goal of finishing the race... without mechanical or medical assistance. They even finished the last marathon with 5 checkpoints and are ready to return next year, if they find a sponsor...

MMC MITSUBISHI / CREDIT MUTUEL 133
Danielle BIGATA and Dominique HERRAIRE in a MITSUBISHI

Very happy with their Rallye, the seniors of this year’s race exhibit a sense of calm that is the envy of some of the younger Gazelles. It took them just two months to find all of their sponsors. They came to the Rallye to experience a unique adventure, to meet people, and of course, to cross the finish line... Which they did! Bravo!

LE PARI DES GAZELLES / BANQUE POPULAIRE DE BOURGOGNE 157
Nadia FOURNO and Patricia NAUD-CRON in a NISSAN PATROL

After a smooth passage through the dunes, the girls realized that they had broken their exhaust pipe; no problem for Nadia, who made repairs before advancing to Lake Iriqui. They enjoyed themselves immensely in the dunes: the real dunes of Chegaga, not the mini-dunes of the first day! They camped with Team 167 in the dunes a few km from CP4X.

BMCE Capital Bank 165
Franco-Senegalese team Syndiely WADE and Jade HANDI in a NISSAN NAVARRA

After a lot of problems, our two Gazelles ended up making some compromises. “On this marathon we used a mix of trail and heading; it worked: we reached all of the checkpoints and finished the leg with the least number of extra kilometres (35 km). We camped with Nathalie and Anne Gaëlle, Team 191. Then we drove through the dunes together: what a pain, we got stuck at least 20 times between us!” In spite of their good mood, Jade and Syndiely are disappointed not to have made a competitive performance this year due to errors in strategy. “If I were to do it again, I would do it on a quad, it’s easier!” according to Jade.

EXCO / AGF 167
Sophie France DE L'EPINE GASTINE and Isabelle DE L'EPINE in a LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110

The two sisters ran a good race. They were somewhat disappointed to have spent so much time in the Draa, and would have liked more time to enjoy the dunes of Chegaga.

BMCE Bank 193
Franco-Moroccan team Majda OUARAFANA and Sanaa CHAIDI in an ISUZU D-MAX

Our Gazelles took it easy today after a series of misadventures. They stopped off at an inn in Foum Zguid where they took a shower and enjoyed a dish of tajine before joining the bivouac and the party with the other Gazelles.

ACCUEIL IMMO / CIC 199
Ida CALMON and Florence CAZANOBE in a TOYOTA KDJ 120

Ida and Florence are proud to have finished the race. And they should be! Lacking in self-confidence, they made the mistake of asking for help from other Gazelles whom they thought were more experienced, but each time, they would have been better off following their own calculations, or even their own instincts! “During the first marathon we only reached 4 checkpoints, but now we are getting by on our own and are even among the first to reach the CPs, it’s great!” exclaims Ida.

AUTOMATISME ET EXPLOITATION DES ENERGIES/ CREDIT MUTUEL 203
Florence SIGNORETTO and Vanessa CHAILLOT in a TOYOTA HILUX

Two nurses, mother and daughter. Taking part in the Rallye was the mother’s initiative… They got along well, despite some navigation difficulties. Improving steadily throughout the race, they reached 4 checkpoints in this last marathon. The Gazelles feel that all of their problems “spoiled the scenery” a bit for them. Perhaps a course in topography should be made compulsory...


Under the patronage of his majesty King Mohammed VI