“It’s very emotional to see all the 4x4s like that, it feels like the official start; we’re beginning to believe it, slowly but surely. I mean, we’ve been waiting for eighteen months, so we need a little time to really realize that it’s happening. But I know the excitement is just going to keep rising“, says Marie-Laure of Team 228 (Marie-Laure TROUINARD / Clémence DUFOIX), as she installs her stuffed “Gazelle“, a gift from a sponsor, on the roof of her 4×4.
Bosch Car Service, Goodyear… Several stands have been set up by the partners of the Rallye to welcome the Gazelles to the Start Village, with music and entertainment provided by Chérie FM, another of the event’s partners. A long line forms in front of the “beauty stand” where Corinne and Sandrine are offering to do the Gazelles’ hair and makeup. “It’s nice to be able to pamper ourselves a little before the rush“, comments Mathilde of Team 241 (Edwige TRUBERT / Mathilde MELAINE). Ingrid and Manon of Team 274 (Manon WOITELLIER / Ingrid LABOUTE) are also delighted with the results.
The stand of Kinder Bueno, the famous chocolate candy which is also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is also very busy. Further on, teams are practicing the dance steps for this year’s flash mob. After an hour with just the Gazelles, the Village opens its gates to the public, whose health passes have been duly checked. They are welcomed by Pangaea batucada band. It’s an opportunity for the teams to “let loose“, jokes Anne-Sophie of Team 244 (Adélaïde COTTAIS / Anne-Sophie CHEREL). “We’ve been waiting for a year and a half, so we’re enjoying every moment“, confirms Adélaïde, visibly moved. “And while we had to wait, we’ve realized since we got here that it has also been extremely hard for the organization, and we thank them immensely for making it possible for us to be here today“.