LIVE NEWS2021-09-07T11:37:36+02:00









With barely time to catch their breath, the Gazelles set off for the sixth and final leg… and a marathon leg to boot!

On one side, Djebel Bani (which means “old mountain”), on the other, Oued Draa, and in the middle, sand !

An endless stretch of small dunes, where it is impossible to stick to anything more than a rough heading, up, down, up, down… It’s enough to make even the most experienced Gazelles lose their bearings. And the wind ! Like yesterday’s leg, navigation in this area is not easy to begin with, and when the weather doesn’t cooperate, things become that much more complicated.

The strongest teams will tackle the dunes towards the end of this first day. Chegaga is less impressive than Merzouga, but you shouldn’t trust appearances alone. The feeling of “surfing” the dunes could quickly be dampened by an unstable or more exposed dune. The wind has also done its work here to complicate the task of our Gazelles. Whatever happens, the sand that was so maligned during the day will be a lifesaver in the evening. Impossible not to find a stretch of soft sand to pitch one’s tent and enjoy the evening. The weather should be mild, and it’s a safe bet that the evening will be festive before the last day of competition.

For the home stretch, the main objective will be to get out of Erg Chegaga. Whichever route they choose, the Gazelles will have to cross the Erg, a relatively difficult task. They must try to avoid wasting precious time getting stuck in the sand… it would be a shame to have to stop so close to the goal ! And then, once they have exited the lovely sandy hills of Chegaga, it will be time to head to the final bivouac. But not in a straight line: that would be too easy! There are still a few challenges ahead: Lake Iriqui and its baseless mountain, dinosaur ridges, “impassable” passes; the impenetrable cliffs of M’daouer… And then the Gazelles cross the finish line, an emotional moment filled with immense pride and joy at having completed the rally, but tinged with regret… not wanting the adventure to end, wanting just a bit more time in the desert…


During this second marathon leg, competitors in AUTO/TRUCK Class have 2 different routes to choose from.

The choice is between the classic route to which they have been assigned (route A-B-C-D-E-F) and Route X.

The classic routes go around the erg to the north and then drive across its least difficult section, while Route X drives straight through the heart of the dunes from EAST to WEST.

As on Leg 2, teams that choose the “classic” route will receive an additional penalty compared to those that take Route X.

A team that reaches all CPs of Route X will only be penalized the extra kilometres driven over the ideal “crow flies” distance. Teams that reach all CPs of their “classic” route will receive an additional penalty of 120 kilometres in addition to the extra kilometres driven over the ideal distance.

During this leg, QUAD/MOTO/SSV teams must take Route X, while those in CROSSOVER/HYBRID, E-GAZELLE AUTO and E-GAZELLE BUGGY/PROTOTYPE will have a special route that passes outside the highest dunes.



More and more teams are crossing the finish line! Tired but euphoric, the Gazelles will finally get to relax and enjoy one last night at the bivouac.

The majority of 4×4 teams are between CP6 and CP7 on Routes A, B, C, D, E. On Route F, a dozen teams are between CP6X and CP7X.

Most Quad/SSV teams (Route V) are between CP8 and CP9.

The Crossovers have split into 2 groups. The 1st is between CP8 and CP9, while the rest are between CP6 and CP7.

The E-Gazelle Auto Vinci Immobilier teams are heading for the bivouac, while the E-Gazelle Buggy/Prototype Vinci Immobilier teams have only one checkpoint to go.

Teams 42 and 101 are on their way to the bivouac.

A few teams are ahead of the pack on Route E and have just made CP 8

More than thirty teams have checked off CP 6X

Some thirty teams have made CP 5X

Due to extreme heat conditions forecast this afternoon, the competition management has decided to cancel the following CPs:

  • Routes A, B, C, D, E and F (4×4 Class): The last 2 CPs are cancelled
  • Route S (Quad/SSV Class): The last CP is cancelled

After a night under the stars, the Gazelles are back in action, setting their sights for the next checkpoint.

The Gazelles prepare their impromptu bivouacs between CP4 and 5, ready to spend another evening out under the stars. We wish them a pleasant and restful night before the final stretch tomorrow.

Team 133 is having mechanical issues.

Some twenty teams have reached CP4

More and more teams have been getting stuck since 1 p.m. but solidarity is still the order of the day.

Teams 216 and 267 got stuck in the sand but Team 147 came to their rescue. Lovely to see such solidarity between teams!

12 teams have reached the first CP on Route F

The Gazelles have started their last marathon leg!







The Rallye has never ventured this far south but the 30th anniversary called for something new, so here we are in search of new horizons.

After crossing the Draa, the competitors will have to rely on top-notch navigation. Features are low or shrouded in mist, hidden by the heat haze or erased by the wind. Because in this region, everyone knows that the wind very often shows up uninvited to spoil the party.

And sand… sand is everywhere. Yes, there are a few fast, easy zones, but they are short and far between. Here it is dune after dune of soft, powdery sand, dotted with camel grass or tamarisk huddling in the bottom of the troughs. Staying on course will be no easy task. The Gazelles will have to use dead reckoning to know when to head north towards more hospitable terrain. This is no simple rest leg between two marathon legs; today’s performance will be crucial because, while the final results may not be decided, some top contenders are certain to have their hopes dashed on reaching the bivouac this evening. This leg is sure to mark this anniversary edition.



At 8 PM, only 4 teams have not yet reached the bivouac.

The furthest, 231, has been joined by an assistance team who are following them as they make their way back.

The Gazelles of Team 109 headed east-northeast instead of east-southeast after CP7. Team 263 is approaching the bivouac, followed by an assistance team.

As for Team 218, they have stopped in Mhamid. Team 231 should cross paths with them around 8:30.

No teams are expected to spend the night outside the bivouac

A large number of teams did not find CP6 or reached it too late (after 6:00) and are heading back to the bivouac by trail.

Some teams, such as 218, who gave a great performance in the oued, must be very disappointed.

Team 223 passed CP5 at 3:30, successfully crossed the oued, but never found CP6. On the other hand, some teams found the CP6 of every route.

Other teams made it all the way to CP7 and are also heading back via the trail.

An assistance vehicle will stay out on the course this evening to keep an eye on Team 231, who are expected back very late.

Quad Class leaders Betty and Sonia, Team 39, are following near-perfect headings.

In 4X4 Class, top teams 267 (Jeanette and Rachelle) and 216 (Tania and Régine) are neck and neck with outstanding performances, despite a wrong heading by Team 267 at CP 7.

Meanwhile, after a 4-hour drive from the bivouac, the radio team has finished installing a radio relay for the marathon on a high point near an area known locally as “the Sacred Oasis.

Not many teams are still out on the course. There are around 15 teams between CP5 and 6, while most of them are between CP6 and 7.

Team 309 has called for technical assistance, and are probably stuck in the sand

It is very hot today, with a high of 40°. Visibility is good despite the heat.

It is just 3:10 and the first Gazelles are already back at the bivouac. Some of them gave up for the day.

Team 236 drove straight to CP5, had to search for CP6, and is now 3 km too far west for CP7

Team 502 is driving in circles looking for CP1. Team 511 reached the first 3 checkpoints but decided to go back to the bivouac.

Team 123 on Route E made it to CP3 and 4 without a hitch, but appear to have plotted CP5 incorrectly on the map, which could cost them dearly…

Team 243 has finally reached CP5 and is heading east towards CP6.

Meanwhile, Team 273 still hasn’t found CP5.

Gazelles 176 and 178 are approaching checkpoints 6A and 6E respectively. Instead of crossing the Draa, which would have been 16 km but risky, they decided to go around, which cost them 40 km.

Team 33 only reached CP4 at 11:30 and still have 17 km to go to get to CP5. At this rate, will they manage to hit all the day’s checkpoints before they close?

Teams 243 and 273 also missed their CP5 and are searching in the wrong place.

Team 134 overshot their CP5, realized their mistake, and have just turned around. They appear to be heading for the checkpoint but it has cost them 7 extra km.

Team 263 made the prudent decision after CP4F to take a slight detour south, costing them 2 extra km but avoiding the dunes. They have covered 9 km, 17 km more to go to reach their goal.

Team 209 on Route B passed checkpoint 5 at 10:20 and decided to take a straight heading to CP6, but has veered north-east.

5 other teams on the same route (118, 119, 132, 138 and 209) have done the same thing.

Four SSV teams are heading for CP6.

Team 302 forced to withdraw because of mechanical issues.

Quad 37 missed their checkpoint, realized their mistake, turned around and just hit CP5.

The 4 SSV teams are on their way to CP6 and the team in the lead is about to enter the sand.

Several teams are nearing CP5

The Quad-SSV teams are less than 7 km from CP5V

Teams 118, 138 and 209 have reached CP5.

Fire truck 240 on Route E has passed CP5 and is heading north-west to CP6.

1/4 of the teams are still at CP4 and most of the 4x4s are between 4 and 5.

No mechanical issues for the moment.

Team 265 who were driving a Toyota KDJ90 withdrew from the competition this morning for personal reasons

Team 104 (D-Max Isuzu ) withdrew from the competition this morning with a broken engine.

The first Gazelles have passed the first 2 automatic CPs that lead the way to Oued Draa. This is the first time the Rallye has ventured into this area, which features some large zones of difficult sand.







After 4 days of grappling with maps and vehicles, it’s time for a change of scenery and the discovery of new horizons to the south.

This first marathon leg covers more than 265 kilometres on paper (more than 320 km in reality) in complete autonomy, with no mechanical assistance in the evening, no refuelling, a makeshift campsite, and a dozen checkpoints to reach in two days.

The first day offers nothing less than “Gazelles Hell” as it is known by the Organization. Every year during the terrain reconnaissance, the team rails against the apprentice cartographer who drew up the maps of this area. They are sketchy at best, and the missing details make it incredible difficult to read the maps and the terrain with any precision. One can get lost with disconcerting ease. The Gazelles will then leave this area for wide plains that seem to stretch forever, with longer distances between checkpoints. Let’s hope the wind doesn’t rise, making the features more difficult to recognize. And then, as it’s the 30th anniversary and quite frankly it would have been disappointing not to do it, it’s the return of the “carte blanche” or “blank map”. Certain sectors of the map for this first day have been deliberately “erased”. Of course, that makes everything a lot more challenging, but not impossible. There is more risk, as the terrain is impossible to anticipate, and choices must be made on the spot. Can I get through those mountains or not ? Do I turn around now, or do I keep going and try to get through? The choices made in this sector could end up shaping a first version of the top 10.

This will be the Gazelles’ first night away from the hustle and bustle of the bivouac. Just the sound of the wind rustling their tents !

Day 2 of Leg 4. While pink and yellow dominate the landscape, shades of ochre, red, grey, black and even green can also be seen on the plain of Hassi Bou Haïara. On one side, a oued that attracts sand and dust like a magnet. On the other, a fantastical landscape dotted with “tajines” and jagged mountains that wouldn’t be out of place in the background of a 1960s spaghetti western. It’s an ideal playground for Gazelles ! The headings are tight and the terrain is harsh. The Gazelles will have to fight all day long to avoid losing their bearings while contending with sand and rocky terrain. As the day progresses, the routes gradually come together to converge on the great Tafenna cirque and then the new bivouac in Oulad Driss. The teams will sleep in the comfort of the bivouac and leave their vehicles in the capable hands of the mechanics, who will make sure they are ready to tackle Leg 5, in terra incognita !



Some thirty teams are still a ways away from the bivouac. Team 145 is the farthest from the finish line.

90 teams have reached the finish line for the leg!

Valérie and Emmanuelle  of Team 304 have just gotten stuck between CP7 and 8. Nothing a little shovelling shouldn’t fix!

28 teams have reached the new bivouac.

The Gazelles of Team 191 are still starry-eyed from their night in the open desert when they reach CP11.

Marie-Pierre and Virginie of Team 108 are leading the pack and are heading for CP11. They are followed by 170 and 206.

After a great performance, Team 500 is approaching the finish line, which is some distance from the bivouac. For autonomy reasons, the electric vehicles do not have to make it all the way to the bivouac for this leg. Teams 600 and 602 are just behind them.

Team 301 is at the back of the pack and is currently at CP6.

Some 20 teams have reached CP8.

All teams are now between CP5 and CP7

For a question of autonomy, the E-Gazelle Buggy Prototype Vinci Immobilier teams will follow the same route as E-Gazelle Auto Vinci Immobilier, i.e. Route G. We apologize for issues in displaying the positions of these teams.

After a first night under the stars, the Gazelles set off for the 2nd day of the marathon leg.

At the head of the pack, some fifteen teams have decided to spend the evening together at CP6.

Most of the Gazelles have decided to pitch their tents at CP5.

Many Gazelles are attempting some nighttime navigation in an effort to reach their 5th checkpoint.

Many teams appear lost at the end of this first marathon day.

The Gazelles are advancing slowly. Most teams on this route will probably sleep at CP4.

The Gazelles who wanted more sand after the red sea of Merzouga have got their wish! Time to get the shovels out…

Surprise of the day: a blank map! The organization deliberately erased a section of today’s map, so the Gazelles won’t be able to rely on the landscape features to navigate. The first Gazelles on Route F have reached CP2, where they are taking a long break to plot their points…

The E Mehari of Team 504 has battery trouble and won’t be able to start this leg with the other teams.

The Gazelles left early to reach today’s start line at 30 km from the bivouac.





IDEAL DISTANCE 150km + 30km liaison


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…

IDEAL DISTANCE 150km + 30km liaison


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.







Why wait ?
Dreaded by some, eagerly anticipated by others… the time has come for the Gazelles to confront the dunes of Erg Chebbi !
Shovels at the ready, tow straps on board, not to mention sand ladders… it’s not going to be an easy ride! The second leg, and the Gazelles are already in the sand.

Teams in AUTO/TRUCK and QUAD/SSV/MOTORBIKE classes , will have no choice but to tackle the dunes; there is no way to avoid them. However, they will have 3 different routes to choose from: Z, Y and X.

Route Z meanders around the feet of the dunes: a good choice for less experienced Gazelles. But while the slopes may be less steep and the hollows less deep, it is still the same sand…

And then there is Route Y which passes close to the highest sandy peaks. While navigation is not particularly difficult, the terrain is more rugged, the passes are narrower, and the driving is increasingly difficult.

Finally, there is Route X for those who dare, with real mountains of sand to drive over and around. Checkpoints may be visible from a distance, but time seems to stretch… And it’s hot; the sand seems to melt as the day progresses… The conditions can be quite hellish here, but after all, they are seeking the holy grail !

The choice will be easy for QUAD/SSV/MOTORBIKE teams: they have to do Route X !

Crossover/Hybrid, E-Gazelle Auto and E-Gazelle Buggy/Prototype Classes , won’t be able to take on the “big” dunes, but their route is no day at Copacabana beach ! Rutted oueds followed by equally treacherous sandy oueds…headings that are easy to lose track of… Even for them, the day will not be an easy one.

In the evening, at the bivouac, everyone will be swapping stories of the day’s adventures, victories and troubles, excited and proud after their day in the dunes. And don’t worry… there is more to come !

During Leg 2, in the dunes of ERG CHEBBI, competitors in AUTO/TRUCK Class must choose between 3 routes with different levels of difficulty.

These three routes, called X, X and Z, all have CPs in the sand, but different levels of difficulty.

Route X is the most challenging. Route Y is intermediate and Route Z is the most accessible, remaining in an area of low dunes.

Naturally, the values of the CPs reflect the level of difficulty of the chosen route.

A team that reaches all CPs of Route X, will only be penalized the extra kilometres driven over the ideal “crow flies” distance.
Teams that reach all CPs of Route Y will receive an additional penalty of 120 kilometres in addition to the extra kilometres driven over the ideal distance.
Teams that complete Route Z will receive an additional penalty of 240 kilometres, in addition to the extra kilometres driven over the ideal distance.

During this leg QUAD/MOTO/SSV teams must take Route X.

CROSSOVER/HYBRID, E-GAZELLE BUGGY/PROTOTYPE and E-GAZELLE AUTO teams will have their own route outside the dunes.



But 3 vehicles will be spending the night outside the bivouac: 221, 182 and 249.

Team 131, which had some trouble today, still made it all the way to CP6X, after doing Route Y.

The Gazelles then chose to take a paved road back to the bivouac, but took a wrong turning. 9 km from the bivouac, they encountered a difficult stretch of dunes, in the dark of night.

Will they make it back to the bivouac this evening?

The last teams are trying to beat the night that will soon fall over the dunes, while the assistance teams work on helping those who have pressed their green buttons.

182 and 249 have stopped moving and must be getting ready to sleep out under the stars, because it will be dark in 1/2 hour. That’s sure to be a wonderful memory!

Teams 126, 132, 178 and 27 are out of the dunes.

Teams who haven’t completed the course will have a choice to make, as the CPs are closing one after the other, with the last one closing up shop at 7:45 p.m.

Teams 229 and 152 are making for the bivouac by the road.

Team 249 is heading due east to get out of the dunes, to avoid having the setting sun in their eyes as they crest a dune.

Teams 174 and 196 are at CP5XY, and 160 and 161 are not far behind them.

And as they attempt to pitch their tents in a crazy wind, the last Gazelles are just leaving the dunes.

Following mechanical assistance, Team 229 is on the move again, but Team 221 is being transported by truck, as it cannot be repaired on site.

Teams 178, 126 and 132 are leaving the dunes to the north and heading directly to the bivouac.

The assistance team has finished with Team 134.


Team 240 has just crossed the finish line. It’s the fire truck, the Renault RVI M210, carrying  Juliette Lepage, the young blind woman who dreamed of becoming a Gazelle!

They stuck to their heading all the way to CP1, same for CP2 although it took them a while to find it. Then on their way to CP3 they had a scare on the crest of a dune and decided to return to the bivouac. A wise decision, and well done, team!

The technical assistance team come to help Team 221 has delivered its verdict: a problem with the transmission oil casing. The vehicle will have to be towed out.

Slowly but surely the teams are starting to leave the dunes, although some have lost a lot of time, including 126 and 221.

Most of the teams are between CP4 and CP6.

As it does every evening, the wind is starting to rise. Thermal winds are generated as the high temperatures of the day begin to drop, and today was very hot.

Several teams have had to call for mechanical assistance technique by pressing the famous green button.

Teams 126, 221, 171, 42, 27 and 236 are currently receiving assistance. Some of them will be on their way soon.

4 teams appear to have given up and returned to the bivouac. They had all chosen the Z route.

We catch up with the Gazelles of Team 222, the ones who started at 11:45 this morning after spending the night in their vehicle. They have passed CP2Z.

Teams 185 and 201, who also spent the night out in the desert, are now heading back to the bivouac after passing CP3Z. Along the same route, Team 117 has made the same decision.

They are all Rallye regulars! The Gazelles of teams 125, 147, 216 and 238 are driving the exact same route just minutes apart and have passed CP6X.

Teams 39 and 46 have left CP6X and are heading for CP7. Not far to go now to get out of the dunes.

Teams 23, 30, 44 and 47 are between CP5 and 6, and appear to have stopped for lunch. Bon appétit!

Further back, Teams 20 and 37 are at 5X: take heart ladies, you’re on the right track! Teams 27 and 42 bring up the rear. Team 42 called for assistance at 4X, and the assistance team is currently there with them.

At the head of the pack, the first teams to reach the CPs are the most agile. Team 35 hit CP6 at 1:45 at the same time as 43, who spent a little time at the checkpoint.

Team 25 just passed CP6, and 21 should reach it at any moment.

The Gazelles of Team 302 have been going back and forth since 9 o’clock this morning, desperately searching for CP2S.

Meanwhile Crossover 301, after deviating from its heading, is approaching CP4S.

Team 308 is still looking for 4S but is finally getting close, while 300 passed it at 1:30 and is already heading for CP5.

Teams 303, 304 and 305 have left 4S in the direction of 5S. They are moving closely together.

E-Buggy 601 had a lot of zigzagging to do to get to CP4H. They are now heading for 5H, which they should reach at any moment.

It was the same story for 600, who have finally reached the checkpoint.


This morning in the dunes of Merzouga, a technical incident forced the organization to repatriate the vehicle, as it was no longer able to continue. Our Gazelles, Yousra and Anne-Charlotte, are fine and are back at the bivouac.

Are the dunes fighting back? teams 27 and 42 are stuck 100 metres from each other, Team 113 has broken down and is waiting for mechanical assistance. Team 150 is currently being towed off a plateau, and Team 202 has launched a technical alert and we are waiting for more information.

Team 102 got stuck in the sand and called for mechanical assistance, but ended up getting themselves out and are on the move again

Team 229 has rolled in the dunes, halfway between CP4X and CP5X.

The Gazelles were more shaken than hurt, but the car is still on its side. A mechanics team will do its best to turn it over as quickly as possible and get the team going again.

4 Quad/SSV teams have just hit CP6SX and are leaving the dunes for CP7SX (21, 25, 35 and 43).

E-Buggy 601 has just veered off course on the way to CP4H and is no longer heading in the right direction. The landscape is easy to read in this area, and it shouldn’t take them long to realize their mistake.

All the teams who played hooky last night have returned to the bivouac and all left before noon, heading for the dunes. In order, they are Teams 129, 162, 185, 201, 222, 230, 232, 233 and 239.

Team 222 is back! Just enough time to complete the formalities and off they go! Yesterday they got well and truly stuck in the sand, and it took them a lot of time to get moving again. After getting a little lost, they were caught out by the dark and decided to sleep in the car and make their way back in daylight.

Team 222 didn’t take the shortest route, but opted for the paved road that they know. The Gazelles are 20 km from the bivouac and should arrive around 11:45.





IDEAL DISTANCE 110km + 30km liaison


IDEAL DISTANCE 110km + 30km liaison


Not all teams have made it back yet! We’re waiting to see which Gazelles have decided to set up camp in the open desert…

It remains to be seen if they intend to return to the bivouac, or sleep out in the desert…

Some teams are determined to make CP7 before it closes at 9 o’clock despite the encroaching darkness of the desert.

Some teams seem to have decided to spend the night out in the open desert and finish the leg tomorrow as soon as the sun comes up, to avoid driving too many extra kilometres…

There’s just one hour left to reach CP7… impossible for all the teams at the back of the pack…

It’s time for Clémence and Marie-Laure to head for the bivouac, which is about 20 kilometres from their current location…

About one hundred teams have reached the bivouac… which means that there are still around fifty that aren’t back yet!

A number of teams are still in the vicinity of CP4, which has been closed since 6:30 p.m. They have 45 minutes left before the closing of CP5 and CP6. The last checkpoint closes at 9 p.m.

Armelle and Tiffany received a call from Rally HQ telling them to stop heading north-east.

The Gazelles don’t have much time left before CP4 closes! Time is of the essence for the back of the pack, while some teams have already crossed the finish line!

Several teams are in Rissani, a village that features nowhere in today’s road books… Did the Gazelles want to do a bit of shopping?!

They were indeed stuck in the sand! Angélique and Mélissa are back on track.

Team 20 has already checked off all its CPs and is now heading for the bivouac.

In light of the map, looks like they’re stuck in the sand…

  • Most teams are between CP3 and CP4, on the eastern section of the route.
  • A dozen teams are halfway through, between checkpoints 4 and 5.

Were the Gazelles not paying attention during Ludo’s briefing this morning? The Sports Director warned them that they would be close to the Algerian border… And yet, may have been contacted by Rally HQ asking them to stop driving east.

And now it’s Team 147’s turn to receive the famous call from Rallye HQ telling them to turn back…

Nathalie and Marie were contacted by Rally HQ as they approached the wall marking the border with Algeria. “Turn around, head west”, Ludo and Max told them.

The wind has risen out on the course of this first leg, adding an extra challenge.

All teams have passed their first checkpoint!

Teams 30, 39, 44 and 47 seem to have eaten lunch together. The Gazelles met up after CP3 and are new heading for CP4.

  • The leaders are approaching CP3.
  • Most teams are in the vicinity of their second checkpoints.
  • A dozen teams are close to the first checkpoints.

It’s getting a little crowded at the third checkpoints of the different routes. Most Gazelles are between CP2 and CP3.

Following an intervention from the technical assistance team, the Gazelles of Team 241 are stuck again…

“Bonjour, il est 5 heures”… and so the morning ritual begins!

It’s a routine that runs like clockwork. Wakeup call. Pack up tent and sleeping bags, go get the vehicle. Load up the gear and place the vehicle in the right line. Breakfast. Briefing, and then it’s the start line and the adventure begins for the Gazelles.

Unlike the prologue, this time every extra kilometre will count. It’s time to get serious !

Today’s route features, 7 checkpoints on the wide plains of Hassi Beraber, under the watchful eye of Hamada du Guir on one side and the monumental Erg Chebbi on the other. The Gazelles will take on rolling terrain marked by a few low hilly zones and a first taste of sandy oueds.

It may seem simple at first, but that’s just a mirage, because the map of the area is not that easy to read. The terrain is relatively straightforward, but it is very easy to lose one’s bearings, as the circle representing one’s approximate position on the map inexorably widens…
So much for extra kilometres… the first red wind flags with the gazelle’s head should make the day’s challenges well worthwhile.

First return to the bivouac (well, maybe not for everyone) and first evening routine. A visit to the “P’tits gris” in the ranking office. Set up the tent. Visit the mechanics. Prepare the maps for tomorrow’s leg. A bit of relaxation at the bar. Dinner and then time for bed and a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is another day…

By the way, something new has been added to the rules for this 30th anniversary edition : le POWER STAGE. For each competition class (except E-Gazelles Buggy/Prototype) and for each leg, the top three teams will receive a bonus: 2 kilometres for the first, 1 kilometre for the second, and 0,5 kilometres for the third.
These bonus kilometres will be deducted from their total kilometre score, not on the ranking for the leg in question, but for the general ranking. In short, it offers a way to make up for a few penalty kilometres.
The purpose of the POWER STAGE is to reward risk-taking. It’s no longer just a question of observing their opponents and managing their lead! A sort of bonus for those who dare…