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…
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.
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…
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)