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Team 143: an unusual team

Around the rally

There are mother/daughter teams and teams or sisters or cousins at the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc. And, surprisingly, there is even a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law team, Françoise and Sofia! Françoise is a pool manager and will turn 60 on the day of the last leg. Sofia, 42, is a Swedish nurse. She lives in Göteborg, second-largest city in Sweden. And she has been married to Françoise’s son for 8 years.

Chance discovery

It was chance that brought them here. “A year ago, we happened to be in Nice for the official start and we saw all these vehicles and all these Gazelles. The children came to visit from Sweden, and we discussed it together. Our husbands found the idea interesting. And I said to Sofia that I could see her doing it with a Swedish friend. She said to me: no, with you. They attended the information meeting in Avignon together. “We thought about it carefully for 6 months, and once we were sure, in September, we did a day of driving to see how it would go, and only then did we register. And we took driving training at a track in Stockholm.”

A simple, easy relationship

For Sofia, this adventure is a challenge and a total change of scenery. “We love Morocco, we come every year and we feel good here. But we have only visited the big cities: this is something completely different.” Françoise is here for the experience and to meet great people. Since the beginning of the rally, the dream duo has not gone unnoticed because of their relationship.We’re showing that it’s possible. Naturally, there have been comments that made us smile. Our relationship is simple and easy; we have spent a lot of time together.” Sofia is the navigator and Françoise, the driver. And their goal? “To enjoy ourselves, first and foremost, and if we don’t finish last, that would be good, and if we finish last, that will mean that we finished and that we didn’t break the vehicle. So that would be good too!

Small details that make a big difference

As a nurse, Sofia is looking forward to visiting the Cœur de Gazelles village:it’s a part of the rally that really interests me, and I want to visit it as soon as possible. We also like the fact that it is a clean rally. The organization pays a lot of attention to the environment, carbon offsetting, waste management. The old-school navigation is cool, and so is leaving our phones off. All these little make a big difference.”




Dominique Serra has dedicated this 29th edition to Nasrin Sotoudeh – prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate – who has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for “inciting corruption and prostitution” by defending women who took off their headscarves in public.

I encourage everyone to sign the petition for her release.