Slowly but surely
At CP1, about twenty Gazelles are plotting their points. They have just received the coordinates of CP2 and CP3. “We’ll go as far as 3 and then see what time we get there, but we would like to try the dunes. We want to make the most of it because we won’t be coming back to the dunes any time soon.” In E-Gazelles VINCI Immobilier Class, all is going well for Team 500 (Pascale BACQUEVILLE / Margaux MASSÉ - MOOD). For now… “Yesterday also started well and then we got lost in some spectacular landscape that wasn’t on the right route.” The mother/daughter team are enjoying themselves but want to do well. “You can come check with me, mum”. “I have no sense of orientation, even at the bivouac, I sometimes hesitate…” admits Pascale, who is driving while her daughter navigates. Team 112 (Karina JERIBI / Camille JANIN - Bertaud Belieu) chooses not to plot CP5. “We always do that to save time. Our ultimate goal is to get to CP6. But 4 or 5 would be good, because the distances are long and there are small dunes here and there.” They have already made their choice: they will follow the classic route.
The race to the checkpoint
The E-Gazelles VINCI Immobilier buggy prototype Team 601 (Charlène LESTIENNE / Barbara BARBIER - ASSURANCES LESTIENNE) are in more of a hurry. “We lost some time helping others get unstuck. The timing is pretty tight with the checkpoint closing times so we can’t hang around too much”. They are on Route G, adapted for their vehicles. “We’re enjoying it, especially as we see ourselves progress, whether in navigation or driving. We finish the legs, we find our checkpoints, and that’s cool.” At the first checkpoint, Team 507 (Emilie AUBERT / Gaëlle BRUNERIE - AVENIR ENERGIES) get out of the car in tears and hug each other. The Gazelles are tired. “We got lost because we don’t trust ourselves enough.” They then have 30 kilometres to reach CP3 across a dried riverbed, the water of winter giving way to a chaotic, sandy swamp. Many stop for lunch after crossing this zone. The wind is beginning to rise.