An optimist by nature
Julien has 2 main observations about this year’s edition: “From a glass half full point of view, the Rallye was postponed several times, and everyone put the energy needed to make it finally happen. Among other things, everyone got vaccinated. I see it as an incentive for vaccination. Everyone got vaccinated; while there were no bad reasons not to, there were only good reasons to do it. This rally even provided an extra push for some who were hesitating and who ended up doing it. Then we worked on setting up the strictest health protocol possible, to prevent Covid from spreading across the bivouac and, above all, to the Moroccan population. That is really our number one priority. It was also important to get back to work in Morocco, because the people need the contact, and because it provides work for them. But not at any price. So we needed to impose strict – very strict – safety protocols to allow us to hold this rally under the best possible conditions.”
Emotions and the Gazelles
The image of the Gazelles is one of emotions, of closeness, where they are frequently hugging each other. These are strong, celebratory images. Julien hopes that, thanks to this very strict protocol, we will be able to recreate these images. Everyone fought so hard that it created a burst of positive energy. “You only have to see the look on people’s faces, even without taking their masks off, to see how happy they are to be together again, to do the rally, and to have the impression that they have moved mountains to get here,” adds Julien, smiling behind his mask.
Positive PCR test?
When I ask him what will happen if a PCR test is positive, either for an organizer or a Gazelle, he doesn’t hesitate: “Clearly, the person won’t be allowed on the boat! We’re not taking any risks, especially for the local populations. And if someone develops Covid once we’re there, we have isolation measures for anyone with symptoms. Anyone suspected of having Covid will be tested, either an antigen test or a PCR test, with isolation measures in accordance with Moroccan recommendations. That means isolation in a government-approved hotel for as long as necessary with close monitoring in the unlikely event of a more severe form. But since we’re all vaccinated, the risk is extremely low.”