Wednesday March 30th and Thursday March 31st, 6th and final leg of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles 2011. Another long leg, minimum distance 241 km from Mhamid to Foum-Zguid.
A sandstorm marks the start of this two-day marathon leg, probably one of the most difficult of the Rallye. The day begins in a string of small dunes around Mhamid, north of Oued Draa, and finishes in the high Chegaga dunes; tomorrow the Gazelles will cross the dried lakebed of Iriqui to reach the final bivouac close to Foum-Zguid.
182 - ISUZU / RADIO FRANCE BLEU / ASSOCIATION REVE Marie and Jessica reach the bivouac early on this last day. The two novices finish the Rallye with a smile. "Our goal was to finish, and to stay in the ranking – and we did it! The last leg was really hard, but the hardest part of the Rallye for us was the Merzouga dunes! We found this competition very difficult, but we would have been bored if it had been too easy - the level of difficulty was stimulating!"
179 - ISUZU / TV5 MONDE / ASSOCIATION PAROLES DE FEMMES Fiona and Valérie didn’t even know each other a month before setting out on this fantastic adventure. "We quickly stopped counting the checkpoints we reached (few) and the kilometres (too many. We made it to the end, and developed a strong friendship along the way. Even if we did break another shock today, we managed to finish, that’s the important thing!" says Valérie. "Last time I did the Rallye, I got really lost – it’s a great personal victory for me to be crossing the finish line tonight..." confesses Fiona.
176 - ISUZU / GENERATION 4X4 / ASSOCIATION KASSOUMAI Sandrine and Carole experience a last moment of stress on this last day of the Rallye: there is no refuelling stop along the way during the 2nd marathon leg, and the team is forced to head for the bivouac earlier than planned… "The thing that stands out for us is that we were able to do things that we never thought we could," explains Sandrine, "All women should do the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles at least once in their lives..."
170 - ISUZU / FEMME ACTUELLE / LA FONDATION PIECES JAUNES "It’s usually dark when we get to the bivouac", joke Julie and Ingrid. "We’re really happy with our Rallye but, in fact, we just started to get the hang of it in the last 2 days and it was a little late! We are finding our bearings better every day; now we notice details that we didn’t notice on the 1st day. We managed to reach 3 X checkpoints today – that’s our victory!"
195 - ISUZU / CINE TELE REVUE / ASSOCIATION THINK PINK Tatiana and Emilie, who had an excellent 1st marathon leg and found every checkpoint, are a little disappointed after this last leg: "The dunes were really difficult; we tried to go in but it was beyond our skill level. We gave up on the checkpoints and decided to enjoy this last day, to enjoy ourselves. It was a superb experience! And between our vehicle’s wrap and our tent (in the shape of a breast!) we were really able to promote our association Think Pink, and, we hope, raise the Gazelles’ awareness of the importance of breast cancer screening."
149 - ISUZU / TV MAG / ASSOCIATION ELA As beautiful as ever even after a week of competition, the two Miss France, Valérie and Cindy, are satisfied: they reached every single checkpoint, even if they didn’t have the shortest distance. "To be honest, we are not the best drivers in the dunes, but we have great Gazelle friends who lead the way. Without them, we’d still be there! And today we broke our rear axle, but we didn’t want to give up. A Gazelle from another team, Emily (109), strapped it all up, better than MacGyver. Without her, we would never have made it over the finish line!"
184 - ISUZU / TÉLÉ 7 JOURS / ASSOCIATION MÉDICO LIONS CLUB After cracking up this morning on reaching CP6X, Marie explodes with joy on crossing the finish line. She jumps into Dominique Serra’s arms, who has come to congratulate her, and kisses her mentor Eric Loizeau. "I feel great! I could keep going!", jokes Natalia, the navigator, "The first time we did the Rallye, I felt completely lost. This time, I found it much easier! If I can, I’ll be back next year!"
177 - ISUZU / AUTOROUTE FM / ASSOCIATION AUDITIONSOLIDARITE.ORG The journalists from Autoroute FM keep getting stuck during this marathon leg. They finish the day exhausted, but are ready to repeat the experience next year!
121 - ISUZU / AUFEMININ.COM / HEART OF GAZELLES Estelle and Marie-Amélie have done very well for a first participation: they came first in the Merzouga dunes leg even though they had never driven in sand before. They end the second marathon leg with all of the checkpoints, including the "X". They can be proud of their performance, even though, as they say, distance was not a priority this year!
173 - ISUZU / COTE SANTE / ASSOCIATION CEW Exhausted, Anne-Sarah and Maryline, the nurses always dressed in pink, are happy that the competition is over. With the fatigue, they found the last few legs very difficult…
148 - ISUZU / LUXE RADIO / ASSOCIATION AMSAT Maha and Nadia, the only Moroccan team in the Isuzu Media Challenge, regret not having had the time to prepare properly for the Rallye (they signed up just six weeks before the start!) but have already decided to return next year, better prepared!
139 - ISUZU / RADIO VITAMINE / ASSOCIATION LE SOURIRE DE LUCIE Laure and Valérie did their 1st Rallye des Gazelles last year. "Last year’s experience brought us a lot closer together, and our navigation and driving really improved, so we’re much less stressed than last year. We kept going to the end of every leg, even if we din’t reach all of the CPs, and above all, we enjoyed ourselves."