Both Mercedes-Benz and Hummer are supplying rally-prepped vehicles to teams participating in the Morroccan Rallye Aicha des Gazelles -- a 1600-mile event open only to women drivers.
Mercedes-Benz is fielding two vehicles this year, but one vehicle -- a highly-modified Viano 4Matic van -- will be piloted by two employees. Both Bettina Singhartinger and Andrea Spielvogel won their chance to compete through a competition within Daimler’s ranks. The pair embarked yesterday for the rally’s starting point in Essaouira, Morroco.
Mercedes’ other entrant is a tricked-out Sprinter 4x4, and will be piloted by veteran drivers Jeanette James and Anne-Marie Ortola. This team competed last year in the same Viano 4Matic used by Singhartinger and Spielvogel, but their Sprinter is an all-new creation.
The U.S. Gazelles team, however, opted for something with a little more off-road legacy. Driver Emily Miller and navigator Wendy Fisher will be winding their way through the race with a slightly modified Hummer H3. We’re not too surprised at the choice -- not only is Miller a Baja 1000 class winner, but she’s an active part of Rod Hall Racing, which frequently fields H3s.
According to organizers, the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles is a rally organized by women for women. It’s also extremely difficult -- time isn’t the determining factor in a victory, but rather completing the race in as few miles as possible while still hitting set checkpoints. Further complicating things is the fact that teams can only use 50-year-old maps, coordinates, and a compass to wind their way through Morroco.
The rally runs from March 13 through the 27. For more information on the rally, we’d recommend checking out Miller and Fisher’s official website, which contains live updates from their journey.
Source: Daimler, GM