In 4th position in the general ranking going into the 6th leg, Team 125, Christine Laloue and Claudine Amat (Domaine Serge Laloue), seem to be headed for a 1st place finish in this 20th edition!
Following a breach of the sporting regulations, Team 138 is now Excluded from the Rallye.
At 15:20, 19 have already reached the bivouac after this last day of the Rallye. The wind has picked up, reducing visibility and making navigation difficult.
Crossover team 317 (Andréa SPIELVOGEL and Bettina SINGHARTINGER - Mercedes Benz) have just reached the bivouac, after reaching all of their checkpoints! Meanwhile, their opponents 312 (Emmanuelle FALCOU and Véronique MAGNON-BARBOTIN - La Poste) are at CP8 and 313 (Clarence SALARD and Julie PERRAUD - La Poste) have passed CP7.
Team 173 (Patricia CICILIANI and Céline VEGA-ROIATTI - SOCATEB) was the first 4x4 team to reach CP9, and is currently heading for CP10. 5 vehicles are about to reach CP9, and 4 vehicles (including Team 199, the "Guy Gazelles") are heading for CP8.
Note that the teams that lead the provisory ranking are now between CP7X and CP8, crossing Lac Iriki.
The three teams the furthest from the bivouac are still in the dunes; two of them are looking for CP7X.
Quad team 23 (Elisabeth KRAFT and Anne MOISAND - Polaris France) are approaching CP9, followed by 22 (Karine CANDES and Valérie DOT - Thierry Transports) who are close to CP8 and 21 (Marie-Laure HERVET and Rachel HERVET - Dokota) who chose an early return to the bivouac after reaching CP5.
We would like to pay tribute to the Gazelle Spirit of Team 106 (Emile SURAY and Lucie ROULEAU - Airel), who towed the vehicle belonging to Carole and Syndiely (Team 155) all the way to the bivouac today, permitting them to stay in the ranking after the problem they had with their clutch!
Team 167 missed CP10 after barely making it to CP9!
At 12:20 on this final day of the Rallye, most of the teams are between CP6 and CP7, or CP6X and CP7X for those who have chosen the route through the dunes. Only 40 teams have chosen the dunes, and 20 of these decided to continue along the classic route before finding all of the "X" checkpoints.
Among the 20 who are pursuing the route through the dunes, only one has made it through: Quad Team 23 (Elisabeth KRAFT and Anne Moisand - Polaris France). 15 teams are currently gravitating around CP7X, searching for it.
Note the excellent progress of Crossover team 317 (Andréa SPIELVOGEL and Bettina SINGHARTINGER - Mercedes Benz), who reached CP8S at 12:15... followed distantly by 312 (Emmanuelle FALCOU and Véronique MAGNON-BARBOTIN - La Poste) who are approaching CP7.
Team 314 (Suzanne RIBEIRO and Delphine BOUE - La Poste) is being towed back to the bivouac by the mechanical assistance truck, after engine trouble preventing them from starting their vehicle. They will be Unranked, but may be able to drive the transfer to Essaouira tomorrow if the mechanics are able to fix the problem.
In the Quad class, apart from Team 23 which is already out of the dunes, Team 22 (Karine CANDES and Valérie DOT - Thierry Transports) are close to CP7X, and Team 21 (Marie-Laure HERVET and Rachel HERVET - Dokota) is approaching CP5.
The quads are in position to tackle the rest of the course tomorrow morning. The 6th checkpoint opens at 06:00; once they validate it, Quads 22 and 23 will head straight for CP7. If they get an early start, they could be among the first teams to reach the bivouac in Foum Zguid.
There is a Rallye tradition that during the last marathon leg, the teams camp together in the Erg Cheggaga dunes. Teams 120, 162, 167, 125, 138, 133, 105 and 170 are together just south of Erg El Rhoual. They are in for a lovely night... in a place they will never forget.
Although darkness is fast approaching the desert, Team 149 has decided to tackle the dunes. They will likely have to stop before too long and make camp for the night.
As a matterof fact, the first Gazelle bivouacs are appearing, as the teams get together in groups near the CP5s. We wish them a lovely night under the vast starry heavens!
The news has just been confirmed by the Race PC: Team 155 has called for assistance, because of problems with their clutch rendering the vehicle incapable of negotiating the dunes and other difficult terrain. Carole and Syndiely will have to make their way slowly to the Foum Zguid bivouac by road. The race is over for this team that has been dominating the rankings since the start. Out of luck for this year, but given their performance over the last week, they will be back for a rematch!
In spite of the uncooperative weather, with strong winds once again reducing visibility and making navigation difficult, the majority of the teams are approaching CP5. Given the time, many are hesitant to tackle the dunes right away. Tomorrow morning, they will choose between the classic (easier) route, or the more difficult X route through the Chegaga dunes.
The general ranking for Legs 4 and 5 remains provisory pending further verification and validation by the Sporting Management.
At noon on this first day of the Leg 6 Marathon, it's all systems go for our Gazelles!
All of the Crossovers have passed CP1, as well as most of the 4x4s and quads.
The changes to the day's course(CP3 and CP4 cancelled) should make today a little easer than the preceding days, and this seems to be the case: a dozen vehicles are already in sight of CP2, with two dozen more within 5 km.
Just 3 calls for assistance, for help in getting out of the sand; no mechanical problems for the moment... Let's hope that things continue this ay: no bivouac means no kind mechanics team tonight!