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Verifications for international and SSV teams


On Monday March 18, it’s time for the technical, administrative and medical verifications for the 26 international and SSV/Quad teams at Hotel Xaluca, Erfoud.

29th edition dedicated to Nasrin Sotoudeh

Dominique Serra, founder and director of the Rallye, addresses words of welcome to the 26 teams: “We missed you at the verifications in Nice! I am very proud to see you all here today, I know how difficult it can be to find sponsors. Give yourselves a round of applause!” This 29th edition is dedicated to Iranian lawyer and human rights advocate Nasrin Sotoudeh. Released in 2013 after several years of incarceration, Nasrin was recently sentenced to another 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for her public opposition to the mandatory wearing of headscarves. “As free women, we are horrified at what has happened to her and we want to let her husband and entourage know that we are thinking about her.”

Nothing left to chance at the Rallye

Before getting down to business, the afternoon begins with a group photo on the roof of the hotel under blue sunny skies. The excited Gazelles finally receive their official vests for the 29th edition, a vibrant shade of blue in honour of the iconic blue chairs lining the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The vests are embroidered with logos of various rally partners (ATOL, Afriquia, Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès, Bosch Car Service, CBA Informatique, Diana Holding, Aïcha) as well as the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Morocco: a great honour, as this is the only motorsport event with the right to bear the royal emblem.

Iritrack: key to safety 

Serge Barbieux presents the Iritrack, “the umbilical cord linking you to civilization”. This satellite-based tracking device will be installed in each vehicle. It allows the organization to determine the location of each team and follow their movements. It is the cornerstone of Rallye safety, and the Gazelles will need to remember the proper use of the three buttons. The blue button communicates directly with the Rallye control centre, the green button is used to request mechanical assistance, while the red button is used to call for medical assistance in the event of an accident or emergency.

The third teammate 

Christian Viano is at the mechanics workshop, where every vehicle is scrutinized by the mechanics team: ground clearance, odometer, safety equipment, list of spare parts. The organizers also verify that the teams have no GPS or other prohibited equipment in their possession. The vehicles then pay a visit to the ‘sticker’ workshop. The vehicle stickers are not merely a decoration: they identify each team by number and provide visibility for event partners such as Koni France, MDJS, Euro4X4parts, Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès, Afriquia. Finally, the Gazelles are given a Bosch Car ServiceKraftwerk mechanics logbook to keep track of any problems and repairs made to the vehicle. The event doctors check that the Gazelles’ first aid kits are in order, and the verifications end with an official photo of the team and their vehicle.




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.