DAR KAOUA – DAR KAOUA
DAR KAOUA – DAR KAOUA
It’s an easy drive to today’s “playground”. The Gazelles will hardly bat an eye as they pass the first CPs before reaching a sweeping expanse of open desert.
Here, the plateaus and hamadas are crisscrossed by a variety of oueds, some deep, some shallow, some crossable, some not. A team may decide to follow a oued for a while, only to emerge several hundred metres off their initial heading… Or the going may be easy in one direction until they find themselves surrounded by other smaller oueds… And inevitably the reverse heading is difficult, if not impossible, without completely retracing their steps and racking up the kilometres.
And while we’re at it, there are also sandy oueds, smooth and fast … but protected by barriers of camel grass, which has the annoying tendency to lead to a good deal of shovelling.
Anything else worth mentioning? Would you believe… cauliflowers ? These wretched, completely inedible plants are filled with sand and as hard as rock and are unforgiving when we dare to drive over them.
And that’s not all… this area offers very few clearly defined landmarks. And the few features to be found are often too far away or masked by the heat haze.
Once again it won’t be an easy day. And as Gazelles are scared of nothing, we “forgot” to give them the 1:100,000 scale maps for this leg. That’s right! It’s the 30th edition, so the surprise of the day is navigating using 1:250,000 scale maps. The technique is the same but the larger scale hides more of the features (which are already hard to see on the ground). And we hope they think to turn their “magic rulers” around to use the right scale!
Patience will definitely be the watchword of the day, as the Gazelles try to avoid falling into any traps…
The return to DAR KAOUA will be welcome but it’s only for the night, as tomorrow is a marathon leg…
Eleven teams are still outside the bivouac.
Teams 123 and 243 are trying to get back to the bivouac in the dark!
Rather than risk being “unranked”, Nadia and Laure of Team 140, prefer to spend the night outside.
The checkpoint closes at 7:45…
That could make the end of the leg more complicated for the Gazelles who are still out on the course.
- 18 teams are back at the bivouac
- Half the teams are between CP8 and the bivouac
- Several teams passed the last checkpoint without seeing it and will have to turn around.
As suspected by Rallye HQ, the Gazelles of Teams 40 and 46 were driving together. The two teams were intercepted by the rally marshalls and admitted that they had been following each other since the fifth checkpoint because they were lost.
But not before Emeline and Mélanie drove almost a dozen extra kilometres… No hope for a top 10 finish for this 3rd leg.
Emeline and Mélanie of Team 220 had put in an almost perfect performance until they found themselves 1.5 km to the east of the last checkpoint of the day… It will be hard to make up for the extra kilometres…
Most of the Gazelles are between CP5 and CP6.
Jeannette and Rachelle have just hit their 7th checkpoint, followed closely by Teams 238 and 216. The Gazelles are clearly aiming for performance!
Judging from their trajectories, there won’t be much separating Teams 216 and 238 this evening. The leg will be determined by a matter of metres!
An organization vehicle is on its way.
“We advise you not to keep going east”, warns Jo at Rallye HQ, as Marine and Ophélie are clearly following the wrong heading.
The idea is to keep an eye on them and prevent them from continuing along the oued.
Céline and Jennifer of Team 246 seem to have taken a wrong heading…
Sitting at second and third in the rankings, respectively, it’s going to be a tight competition!
Emeline and Mélanie of Team 220 are the first to arrive. These teams are advancing well and have now done almost half of the day’s course (6th checkpoint, but as the first two were along the road, it’s more like the 4th of 7)
Team 230 called Rallye HQ, trying to get help finding their position on the map… “Sorry, we can’t provide assistance when you’re lost”, responded Rallye HQ.
We warned you that the cauliflowers would lead to a lot of driving around in circles…
- All teams have passed CP 3 (except those who returned to the bivouac for mechanical assistance)
- Three mechanical assists are currently in progress, provided by the organization’s assistance vehicles
Bad news for Adeline and Karima, who will receive a penalty…
Despite a call from Rallye HQ, Team 502 still haven’t plotted their point in the right place and are still on the wrong heading…
Team 145 has reached CP7… without the three previous ones! Gwenaelle and Pascale had better start with CP4!
Team 302 has just realized their heading error and is trying to correct it by driving north to CP4, 3 kilometres away.