The Gazelles offer a star finish on Essaouira beach

Essaouira | Prize-giving ceremony

In addition to friends and relatives, an audience of prestigious guests were present to witness the official finish of the Gazelles. A well-deserved moment of celebration!

This Saturday morning, the Gazelles gathered at the end of Essaouira beach for their official finish after nine days of racing in the desert. It was a festive but also moving moment, with the teams parading before their families and friends but also many partners who made the trip for the occasion. And for this symbolic finish, the show was on the beach, of course, but also in the air as the Royal Moroccan Air Force aerobatic display team "Marche Verte" framed the parade of teams under the amazed eyes of the public.

Many public figures were also on hand to welcome and congratulate the teams, including Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, who was very moved by the parade of Gazelles, and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco. Monsieur Fautrier, from the Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Madame Dumas and Monsieur Cambon, senators, completed the list of French dignitaries. Distinguished Moroccan guests included the Minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah Alaoui as well as the Minister of Tourism Fatim-Zahra Ammor were in attendance as well as the governor of the province of Essaouira Mr. Adel El Maliki, Mr. Benryane, president of the Morocco-Israel Chamber of Industry and Mr. El Fakir, general manager of the tourist office.

Morocco, big winner of this 31e edition

The winners of each category were the first to open this parade of Gazelles, starting with an emotional Anne-Marie and Karima of Team 153 (Karima LAAROUSSI MOUHYI / Anne-Marie BORG - SUPAVIA). “We had a mission, we accomplished it”, says Anne-Marie, who now has four victories in twelve participations. "We had a hard time but we laughed a lot", underlines Karima for whom this second victory out of ten participations had "a particular flavor because it is the first time with Anne-Marie ». While there were many relatives of the Gazelles on the Essaouira beach, there were also many strangers present who wanted to have their photo taken with the big winners of the day. “You've made us want to do the rally. Next year we'll be there!", confided one of them. « It really is something to do once in a lifetime », replied Karima.

Hajar and Malika of Team 310 (HAJAR ELBIED / MALIKA AJAHA - DACIA)are the other winning Moroccan team of this 31e edition. This second victory after a first title won last September was won hands down but not without difficulties. “Our goal was to raise the Moroccan flag on the podium, and we were successful”, rejoices Malika. "Moroccan women are strong women, they can do great things", remarks for her part Hajar, also pointing out that "The Duster is a very high-performance car that can deal with difficult terrain". The two Gazelles leave the rally with new friends, another objective they had set themselves at the start of the event!

Betty, a 14e victory in 15 rallies

For Team 601 (Elisabeth SEVIN / Lydie BLAISE - Izivia), it is “a triple victory” says Elizabeth: « Just doing the rally wasn't easy, but winning is great! Especially since we were competing to raise awareness of Williams & Beuren syndrome, which my son has.”. The Gazelle invites future teams to try the adventure in an electric buggy: "It goes everywhere and since it makes no noise, it allows you to really enjoy the magic of Moroccan landscapes". Angélique and Cindy, the two sisters of Team 505 (Angélique GORCE / Cindy PILANDON - Our family), are the other winners of the e-Gazelles category. They express their "pride to be first and above all to have been able to create links with the other teams". "All the electric cars are winners", underlines Angelique.

You would think she would be jaded, but that is far from the case. Betty shows a big smile after finishing first in SSV/Quad Class with her teammate Florie-Anne, Team 39 (Betty KRAFT / FLORIE-ANNE POCHON - POLARIS FRANCE). "It's always the same emotion", says the Gazelle who returns every year for “the spectacular landscapes and the organization”. "You can't do without it", summarizes the quad-biker.