You may remember our own Allyson Harwood's first-hand account of the 2011 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, as well as its grueling terrain, and old-school rules. Harwood was fortunate enough to be in a media vehicle with modern GPS and navigation equipment -- actual participants are not so lucky. They must make do with paper maps, geographical coordinates, and a compass. Competitors are ranked not on speed or finish time, but shortest distance traveled.
Driving was made somewhat easier by the dunes that comprise much of the driving of the rally receiving the first rainfall in three months, but make no mistake, this competition is no cakewalk.
The 2012 competition was won by team #187 comprised of the French duo Carole Montillet and Julie Verdaguer. Montillet won the gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics in women's downhill skiing for France.
Rookies in 2011, Amy Lerner and Tricia Reina came back to participate again in the 2012 competition, this time in an AEV-modified Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, having competed in last year's race in a Hummer H3. Lerner and Reina took eighth place overall in this year's race, but won the Logica challenge sponsored by UK-based Logica, a global business and technology service company.
The award is given to the team showing the most eco-friendly driving habits during the competition. An on-board diagnostics box logs data on CO2 emissions, and the award is granted based on data gathered.
In second place was Team #203 from Portugal, Elisabete Jacinto and Sofia Carvalhosa driving a Volkswagen Amarok. Both are fourth time participants in the rally, and Jacinto is a professional T4 racer who has raced in the Dakar truck category eight times.
Team #170, comprised of Jeannette James of the UK and Florence Pham of France, took third place. James is a driving instructor and raced for Mercedes for the Crossover win in the 2009 Gazelle. This is James' fourth time competing, and Pham's eighth.
Source: Rallye Aicha des Gazelles