UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF HIS MAJESTY KING MOHAMMED VI
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THE ORIGINAL
UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF HIS MAJESTY KING MOHAMMED VI
05 Étape 12019-03-15T12:20:20+02:00

LEG 1

NEJJACK – NEJJACK

LEG 1

NEJJACK – NEJJACK

CHECKPOINTS 7

IDEAL KM 115km

ESTIMATED TIME 8h30

TERRAIN vast plains, early difficulties and sandy areas

CHECKPOINTS 7

IDEAL KM 115km

ESTIMATED TIME 8h30

TERRAIN vast plains, early difficulties and sandy areas

It is midnight, and Teams 125 and 225 have just reached the bivouac. All teams are now back for the night!
As the sun slowly slips below the horizon, the Gazelles slowly make their way back. Only 71, or less than half, of the teams have reached the bivouac!
It's 6:30 p.m., CP4 is now closed.
Teams 601 (Charlène LESTIENNE / Barbara BARBIER - ASSURANCES LESTIENNE) and 600 (Sihame NABIL (EL HORFI) / Amel NABIL (ELKHAL) - Sybelles.ski) have requested assistance. Their two electric buggy prototypes appear to be out of battery power.
Team 131 (Hélène FABRE / Nathalie LECHAT - Aux bains de Cel) has not chosen the best option... They are currently stuck between two very different reliefs: to the left, an erg (dunefield), to the right, a mountain. They appear to be following a trail between the two... Will they remain stuck, or manage to get out like seasoned Gazelles?
Team 120 (Virginie GRIZON-SAMIT / Audrey ANTECH) just got out of the sand, by themselves! The Gazelles are up to the challenge!
CP3 is now closed.
Team 601 (Charlène LESTIENNE / Barbara BARBIER - ASSURANCES LESTIENNE), one of the two electric buggies, has reached CP4. They have 3 more checkpoints to reach if they want to finish their route. It's going to be a long day for them, and for others as well.
The calls for mechanical assistance continue, although not that many considering the late hour. This time Team 150 (Chantal PORTHAULT / Marisa IASSOGNA - Garage & carrosserie de Bellevue F. Iassogna SA) needs assistance for a possible wheel bearing problem.
Team 169 (Nathalie RUDENT / Isabelle CARLIER) has just reached the bivouac with two checkpoints. CP1 was quickly dealt with, but CP2 was another story. It took the team 4 hours to find the flag, just 6 kilometres away, after setting out in the opposite direction...
Team 110 (Helen TAIT WRIGHT / Haley BENNETT - DaisyVie/Landypoint) has just reached the bivouac. After reaching CP1, they were unable to find any other checkpoints. But they paid an interesting visit to the medical caravan of "Coeur de Gazelles", the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc's humanitarian organization.

The CP2s all closed at 3 p.m., as indicated in the Gazelles' road book of the day.

Team 213 (Emilie ESCANDE / Caroline ESCANDE - Green Cantine - Jack's burger) has veered off course to the east in the direction of Algeria.
At 2:30 p.m., 31 of the 52 teams on Routes D and E teams have reached CP3.
Team 145 (Lylia ABDAOUI / Saliha BENTABET - JEAN LOUIS DAVID`) is having trouble advancing through the sand, and has not yet reached a single checkpoint.
Team 190 (Anne-Marie BORG / Yolande BENS - CONSTRUCTIONS DU SUD OUEST - CSO) is back on track after a brief detour along the way to CP3. They noticed their error and corrected it quickly!
CP1 of each route closed at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon. Any teams who didn't make it that far will surely have learned a lesson or two from today's leg, which is now over for them.
Team 190 (Anne-Marie BORG / Yolande BENS - CONSTRUCTIONS DU SUD OUEST - CSO) is 90 degrees off course going from CP2 to CP3 ... Will they realize their error?
Team 124 (Marine MICHELANGELI / Christelle REYMONET - ESAF) is still browsing its way across the desert, sticking to the trails, without finding a single checkpoint...
Team 601 (Charlène LESTIENNE / Barbara BARBIER - ASSURANCES LESTIENNE), one of the two electric buggy prototypes, has just just found a way out of Oued Nejjack, which they could have avoided by headed straight from CP1 to CP2... Did they make a mistake plotting their points?
The Gazelles are advancing slowly but surely. It's going to be a long day for some teams. With an ideal distance of 115 kilometres, it should take them 8:30 to reach all the checkpoints. One thing is certain, after 8 p.m., they won't be able to see much to navigate by...
Most of the pack is now between CP1 and CP2. The course is advancing well, but this is but the beginning... the teams have 7 CPs to reach for today's leg.

Briefing at 6 a.m., first start at 7 a.m.… And, unlike the Prologue, every extra kilometre counts.

There is good news for the Gazelles even before Leg 1: the Kingdom of Morocco decided not to move the clocks back last fall! That means that the famous morning wakeup call of “Bonjour, il est 4 heures” has become ” Bonjour, il est 5 heures”… Not a bad start!

Briefing at 6 a.m., first start at 7 a.m.… And, unlike the Prologue, every extra kilometre counts.

There are 7 checkpoints on today’s itinerary across generally wide, open terrain. Under the watchful eye of Amada du Guir on one side and the monumental Erg Chebbi on the other, the Gazelles will make their way across wide plains and low hills, and get their first taste of sand.

That is not to say that it will be easy. The maps of this area are very precise but not necessarily explicit… the leg is sure to be challenging for some, and there are sure to be cries of joy as the Gazelles reach the famous red flag decorated with a gazelle’s head.

Today’s goal is simple: continue to learn how to read the terrain and gauge the vehicle’s capabilities… without getting lost and dashing all hopes of a podium finish!

RANKINGS

No major surprises for the moment

LEG SUMMARIES

Rankings Leg 1

PHOTOS

Best photos of Leg 1

SUMMARY - ADVENTURE

Gazelles “pleased with themselves” after Leg 1

SUMMARY - COMPETITION

A long but straightforward first leg

SUMMARY - BRIEFING

Competition briefing: Leg 1 “a little harder” than yesterday

PARTNERS

#FreeNasrin

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.