In Erfoud, sunny checks

Erfoud | Verifications

Not all the Gazelles started in Nice this Saturday. For 38 teams, the adventure truly begins today! On the program: emotion but also a touch of excitement!

Same thing, different day ! Or almost… This Monday the organization of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is once again hard at work performing technical and administrative checks for the 38 teams who came directly to the hotel Xaluca, in Erfoud, a few kilometers from the first bivouac, all under the watchful eye of 2M, a Moroccan television channel. Here they meet teams taking part in the adventure in SSV Class, which includes quads and buggies, but also the Moroccan teams and those who rented their vehicle in Morocco, starting with the Moroccans but also the Americans of Team 136 (Thelma MAGUIRE / Val ROTHEN - Drive Brand Studio) and a few others. In the meantime, the Gazelles who left Franceon the boat chartered by the GNV, landed in Tangier and are heading south.

As in Nice, the Gazelles receive many gifts - a Bosch cooler, very practical for keeping water cool in the middle of the desert, a key ring, a hat and a buff from Goodyear, a Koninotebook, a water bottle from Nutella/Kinder - as well as their precious white vests adorned with the coat of arms of Morocco, a rare privilege as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is the only event allowed to wear it. It is a particularly emotional moment for Pauline and Claire of Team 27 (Claire COLIN / Pauline COLIN - Brico Cash Fameck). "We've been waiting for this for a very long time. It hasn't been easy for us to get here.", comment the two sisters, moved to tears. Emotion but also excitement for the Jeepsters of Team 209 (Loubna BENALI / Lamia MALEK - Mia), Loubna and Lamia, two 4×4 enthusiasts who are realizing "a childhood dream" by participating in this 31e edition of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc.

A former Olympic champion among the Gazelles

"Thank you for having the courage to embark on this adventure", immediately launches Dominique to the teams present for this day, before emphasizing that “being a Gazelle means sharing values ​​of solidarity and love”. The general manager of Maienga then gave a special welcome to Nawal of Team 254 (NAWAL EL MOUTAWAKEL / LATIFA BAKKARI-SRO). The former 400m Olympic champion and Moroccan ex-Minister of Sports is indeed among the 190 teams on the starting line this year. "Putting yourself in danger when you have an image to preserve, that's also being a Gazelle", insists Dominique. For her part, Marina, the event director, reminds the teams that they are also here " to enjoy themselves ".

After these beautiful words, the Gazelles head to the hotel parking lot for the technical checks. They must show that they are prepared: helmets, sand ladders, straps, food-grade Jerrycan... Everything is checked to ensure a safe rally. Without forgetting, of course, the sticker workshop with the logos of the rally partners. This is also the time for the Gazelles to declare their prohibited equipment (cameras, smartphones, etc.) which they will have to hand in at the end of the prologue. Around the swimming pool, the medical team – doctors and nurses – ensures that all participants have a medical certificate allowing them to take part in the rally. The Gazelles must also show that they have all the medicines recommended by the organization in their first aid kit. Of course, the medical team is there to provide care for the teams if needed!

Among the Gazelles willingly accepting these pre-departure formalities, we find team 310 (HAJAR ELBIED / MALIKA AJAHA - DACIA), Hajar and Malika, two Gazelles who are well known to the organization sincethey are taking part in the rally for the third time. The last time was barely six months ago, when the two Moroccans were the big winners in Crossover category. They have therefore come back to defend their title, but above all “to have fun and meet new people”. “Each time we do the Rallye, we leave with new friendships”, underlines Hajar. There is no doubt that with 80% of new participants for this 31e edition, the two Gazelles will have plenty of opportunities to make new friends! The Gazelles enjoy a well-earned rest after this busy afternoon of checks. Tomorrow, all teams will gather at the Xaluca Hotel for a major general briefing.