A few errors to correct
A few metres away, Isabelle and Christine of Team 158 (Isabelle LOPEZ / Christine AIACH) are also well and truly stuck, but they take it with a smile and even get their cameras out. “I’m immortalizing our first time getting stuck… I must say it’s a good one”, jokes Isabelle. Indeed, the vehicle is cross-axled and the Gazelles have to make their first call for mechanical assistance. Lucky for them, this assistance won’t cost them anything, as the prologue does not count for the final rankings.
After the small dunes, the Gazelles find themselves on a broad reg (rocky plateau) at the foot of some hills, dotted with a few acacias. The first checkpoint (CP) is an opportunity to take stock of the start of this warmup leg. “It’s not particularly difficult but we made some strategic mistakes”, explains Anne-Sophie of Team 129 (Perrine RONCHI / Anne-Sophie FRAYSSE). “Let’s just say we learned to read the map properly”, adds her teammate Perrine. “We’ve already gotten stuck twice. The first time was after just 2 kilometres… At least we’re in the heart of the action”, laughs Karen of Team 302 (Laetitia LALET / Karen CHRISTEL). “We’re very pleased with ourselves for the moment”, says Séverine and Angelika of Team 133 (Séverine DUHAMEL / Angelika OLIVIER).
The half-day prologue is drawing to an end. The Gazelles discuss their experience around the finish line. “I’m proud of my Gazelle”, says Daniela of Team 116 (Emilie DEMAY / PIERMATTEI / Daniela VARESE). “And the feeling is mutual”, replies Emilie. “The only thing we need to do differently, is to look around more as we approach the heading”, observe the Gazelles. Cécile and Anne of Team 109 (Anne MARTEL-REISON / Cécile BOURY) are also quite satisfied with their day. “We had a good day; we weren’t afraid of the elements”, remarks Cécile. “Today has shown us that we need to communicate more and allow ourselves to “monitor” each other”, adds her teammate. While the first teams enjoy an evening of music at the bivouac, among palm trees planted in the afternoon, getting back is more challenging for the stragglers, who no doubt ran out of time and who will be driving back in the dark. Another good lesson to be learned before the first leg!