|Aicha des Gazelles: Competition heats up and US-Teams holding their own|
Teamreport US-Gazelles It was what felt like a 90 plus degree-day in Morocco this afternoon. The wind was still and the sun was strong making competitor’s minds a little slower and water consumption a necessity. The Gazelles needed to hit seven checkpoints today to remain in good rank and reach the CPs in a timely manner to navigate with enough daylight back to the bivouac.
Team 107 and 109 of the United States hit all checkpoints on the third day/leg of the rally. "The features were similar to the southwest of the US which made the terrain easier to navigate," Tricia Reina said. "We helped a lot of people this afternoon and we never felt like we were lost. It was a great day for us."
Team 107 jumped 8 spots overall putting them in 30th place and 12th in the First Time Participation class. Tomorrow will be a battle for the team after learning that 4-wheel drive low, ABS breaking and traction control are currently not working.
After yesterday’s abrupt cancellation of the last checkpoint, CP7, Team Miller Medard 109, were frustrated with the rally’s decision after their entire day’s strategy was based on the last CP.
"The decision to cancel the last checkpoint should have been decided before the Gazelles left the start line in the morning," Emily Miller stated. "Our strategy was to hit every CP and take a few extra kilometer because of it. It compromised the credibility of the rally. The race is a strategy race, and we planned our leg for seven checkpoints."
Team 109 hit all six CPs yesterday and all seven today putting them comfortably in third place overall.
The Rally Brings Back the "Gazous". Two men return this year to prove that the Gazelle Rally is as intricate as it sounds. 2010 World Cross-Country Rally Champion, David Casteu and unparalleled navigator, Eric Loizeau, are returning to the adventure of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles. Last year, the only men’s team competed for a portion of the event.
"In 2010, I was very surprised by how technically challenging this competition is." David said. "Eric and I expected to find the CPs easily. This year, we decided to do the whole Rally and to prepare ourselves properly, because it isn't a competition to be taken lightly."
2011/03/28 | 22:49 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/VAN HOESEN