MHAMID / FOUM-ZGUID - ideal distance 235 km – minimum estimated time 20:00 – Marathon leg
In this region of sandstorms, a quick prayer to the gods may be in order. The challenges of what is probably the most difficult leg of the 2010 rally are magnified by sand storms. The navigator has few landmarks to work with, and the path is blocked by mounds of sand with few ways around them, causing the Gazelles to twist and turn around the bends of the Draa Oued. Once a vigorous river, today it is rare to find the smallest trickle of water there. However, caution is still advisable because even without water, the old riverbed is not easy to approach and to cross… the dunes may not be high, no more than 2 or 3 metres, but they are so close together and over such a long distance… Time rather than distance will be of the essence in getting through this region.
For this two-day marathon, the teams can play their trump card by choosing their level of difficulty. Nobody will be left behind during this last leg: the organizers have placed more value on the willingness to go all the way than on the level of difficulty. The vehicles pitch on the crests of infinite mineral waves. Once again the competitors will sleep in the shelter of the dunes, alone or in a group if they are lucky enough to cross paths with other “Gazelles”.
Then back to the roller coaster, as far as the eye can see! Dune follows dune, until suddenly they end in a large dried-up lake. It is a strange sensation, after so many hours of undulating through the sands: suddenly the vehicle cruises along so silently and smoothly. More hills at the end of the course. No great difficulties here, but the end of the leg will only be reached by those who haven’t lost too much time in the dunes.
Not much life apart from a few nomads, goats and camels.
This last leg ends early to allow the teams to return to the bivouac before dark. One last night and a party at the bivouac, before the magic of the desert fades away into a wonderful and nostalgic memory…
Tonight, fireworks will compete with the stars to light up the night…