On the third leg, the Gazelles are clearly progressing in navigation and driving

Leg 3

After the dunes, rocks and even 'cauliflowers' lay along the path of the Gazelles, who were up for the task! The teams are progressing day by day and it shows on the ground.

Today was no rest day! At the same time, that's not what the Gazelles are here for! A difficult leg awaits them after yesterday in the dunes. For this third leg, they head north of Aoufousacross a plateau famous for its 'cauliflowers'. No, Moroccans do not yet cultivate this famous vegetable from Brittany: cauliflowers are small plants packed with sand that makes them hard as stone. They will pose a major challenge for the teams, because driving over them can be dangerous for the vehicles… And the plateau is covered with them! " It looks more like broccoli “, opines Cécile of Team 197 (Sarah ROSSONI / Cécile CHASSAGNE-BARADAT - BECICE). Indeed, the cauliflowers in question are greenish in colour, and they are not the only obstacle lying in wait for the teams.

Towards CP4, the Gazelles have to cross camel grass which proves challenging for some, but after the dunes of Merzouga, they appear to have made good progress and have much better control of driving in the sand. After the sandy patch, an erg – a wide flat plain scattered with stones – plunges the teams into an American western setting with imposing mountains rising sharply all around. The Gazelles are also lucky enough to come across nomads with their herds. At checkpoint 5, the teams receive their points of the day and take a break to plot them all. " We will try to do them all, but it is not a done deal. It's worth going to the end because after that it's a straight line to the bivouac ", note Marylin and Delphine of Team 177 (Delphine ORQUIN / Marylin MDALLEL - FLC RENOVATION).

After three days of navigation and driving in the desert, the Gazelles already seem to have gotten their bearings. " At first, we were a little afraid of being alone, but today, that's what we're looking for. We feel that we have crossed a line “, welcome the two Emilies of Team 149 (Emilie PLOCHOCKI / Emilie BONTE - ART CERAM). Sandrine and Véronique of Team 28 (Véronique SANCHEZ / Sandrine PONCEBLANC - CAPOCCI), also note some progress: “ this is the first time that we have arrived at a checkpoint on our own without searching too much ". Magali of Team 26 (Solene DELALANDE / Magali DAVID - DAVID MENUISERIE)is frustrated: " We were on course but we saw houses in the distance and we thought we saw a vehicle so we went there. We ended up doing 3 kms too much… ". A good lesson for the Gazelle: “ Never again! From now on I trust my headings ».

Lessons and more solidarity

"Today we are having a blast. We're finding it easier to go in a straight line. We're less afraid so we're enjoying ourselves more “, rejoices Sarah of Team XNUMX (Sarah ROSSONI / Cécile CHASSAGNE-BARADAT - BECICE)while Cécile insists that " Sarah has gained confidence in her driving". While the Gazelles can no longer follow each other like in the dunes on Leg XNUMX, solidarity is still the order of the day. Team XNUMX (Sabine DUVEAU / Chloé DUVEAU - A SEPARATE IMAGE)arrive a little lost at CPXNUMX because the checkpoint is not on their route. " We knew it wasn't the right checkpoint but we came anyway because checkpoints are the only sure way to get back on track.“explains Sabina. Fortunately, they can count on the help of Team XNUMX (HYBA BENRYANE / ALONA BEN-NATAN ). Alona and Hyba know what it's like to circle around the checkpoint without finding it - and guide the other Gazelles,showing them on the map where to go to reach the right checkpoint. Little by little, the teams are refining their navigation. " We're learning every day," says Alona. " We are still not very precise but we try to visualize as much as possible. And then we systematically check on both maps for a better overview“, detail Julie and Marilyne of Team XNUMX (Julie HAUSHERR / Marilyne HAUSHERR - SATIS TT - STE CROIX EN PLAINE).

Sophie and Ingrid of Team 305 (Ingrid ROUCHOUSE / Sophie PENINON - PACA RENOV)can also testify to solidarity between Gazelles. After a puncture, the two Gazelles decide to change their wheel but they find themselves stuck when their jack collapses. " We're all get together and lift your car “, promises Christelle of Team 181 (Christelle ACHARD / Christelle ANQUETIL), who comes to the rescue. But in the end the Gazelles didn't need to lift the car by hand, thanks to another jack, loaned by Ophélie and Caroline of Team 218 (Ophélie MEUNIER / Caroline PERREU). A little shaken by this misadventure, several Gazelles prefer to head for the bivouac and be sure to sleep there ! " We've had a lot of fun but now we're heading back “, confirms Virginie of Team 127 (Virginie BEUCHER / Frederique GUIGNARD - ALEXANDRE MANAGEMENT). " We find that we are doing better and better so it's all very positive ", adds her teammate Frédérique who underlines that they are " also here to enjoy ourselves and meet people ».

Tomorrow a big change awaits the Gazelles as they embark on a two-day marathon leg while the bivouac moves to Mech Irdane, where the teams will meet on Monday evening after spending Sunday night out in the desert.

A look at the rankings at the end of Leg 2

The rankings have not changed in 4×4 Class, where Karima and Anne-Marie of Team 153 (Karima LAAROUSSI MOUHYI / Anne-Marie BORG - SUPAVIA) retain their first place overall after a great leg in the dunes. They slightly increase their lead over Jeanette and Claire of Team 105 (Claire RODIER / Jeanette JAMES - Bumper Off Road), who are just 2 km behind.

Among the novices ("first participation" teams), Team 170 (Virginie AVRIL-GUEPRATTE / Jennifer PENNANECH - TEMPORIS) does not make in onto the day's podium. In first place in the First Participation general ranking, we find team 189, of Dounia and Audrey. This allows the two Gazelles to climb to 8e position in the overall general ranking.

In SSVs/Quad Class, Betty and Florie-Anne of Team 39 (Betty KRAFT / FLORIE-ANNE POCHON - POLARIS FRANCE)retain their first place, 4,5 km ahead of Prune and Saadia of team 31 (Prune SALTI / SAADIA CHAMALI - GCF GEFER/TSO/LÉA ONLINE BOUTIQUE/PAGIN'UP/lE SOURCIL BY CHARLOTTE/DELIN FROMAGERIE/QUAD EVASION).

In Crossover Class, Team 310 (HAJAR ELBIED / MALIKA AJAHA - DACIA) hold onto first place overall. Their gap widens with Team 304 (Isabelle RADENAC / Sabine BONNET PARDO - Dacia).

In e-Gazelles Auto Class, Team 504 (Méliana LAYATI / Sophie Paquin - Bpifrance) loses its first place, just behind Angélique and Cindy of Team 505 (Angélique GORCE / Cindy PILANDON - Our family) with just 6 fewer km.

And for the trio of e-Gazelles Buggies, it's Team 601 (Elisabeth SEVIN / Lydie BLAISE - Izivia) who occupies the 1st place of the general ranking.