Driving 2022km for breast cancer and the community, the Giti Gazelles braved the desert heat, shifting sands and sharp rocks and emerged victorious on Giti4x4 AT70s over the 8-day rally.
How difficult is it to drive 2022km in desert heat over shifting sand and sharp rocks, all while raising awareness and funds for cancer research and conduct Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, doing good for the community in Morocco? The esteemed Giti Gazelles achieved all this in Morocco from 1 to 8 October 2022 without breaking a sweat. This year, driver, Helen Tait Wright, and navigator, Marcella Kirk, arrived in style riding in Priscilla, their Land Rover Defender 110.
Alongside 17 other vehicles, Priscilla participated in the rally and was challenged by the course daily. Driving on Giti4X4 AT70s, the tires provided stability and durability to take on the challenges in the coming days on the same set of tires without having the change them.
Day 1 – Getting a Feel of the Conditions
After the official administrative and technical check on day 1 to ensure that all vehicles are in line with the technical specifications of the rally, Helen and Marcella embarked on their 8-day journey from Fes to Agadir, trekking through the vast deserts and over sand, pebbles and rocks. Guided only by a compass and a road book, the Gazelles planned for the challenges they had to take on, spanning navigation, distance and technical driving, all while remembering not to be too distracted by the beautiful sights of Morocco.
Day 2 – Spreading the Love at Istat
On day 2, the team was determined as they approached the 2nd leg of the rally, starting at 9:30am to take on the Sahara. Speed was not the focus here; with no signs or guides in the desert, it was more important that navigators worked overtime to ensure the teams did not get lost on their journey. At the end of day 2, when the teams arrived at Istat, the Gazelles joined with the various teams to give back through CSR and handed out warm clothes, notebooks, pencils, pens and toothpaste among other things to the students in Istat, spreading generosity and goodwill to all residents.
Day 3 & 4 – Tackling the sand on Giti4x4 AT70
The mythical dunes of Merzouga were the highlights of day 3, with the previous day’s activities serving only as a warm up for the drivers and their vehicles. The day’s road book special tested Priscilla’s tires, with many braking curves, traps, bumps, stairs, crevices and ravines. The route was littered with many splits in the road that kept teams’ navigators on their toes to avoid getting lost and losing out on precious time.
As the Gazelles progressed onto day 4, they had to take on the fine sands of this leg of the rally. Taking on the desert requires different techniques which include knowing where to drive to ensure adequate compaction of the sand to hold the weight of the vehicles. The AT70s on Priscilla once again proved that they are worthy of the desert, skilfully taking on the shifting sands and the undulating dunes. The challenge of the day was a seemingly easy one, with drivers tasked to drive around a 150m heart-shaped route, but in order to spice things up, the drivers were required to do this blindfolded. Navigator Marcella performed outstandingly, clearly communicating instructions to driver, Helen, completing the course without breaking a sweat.
Day 5 & 6 – Reminded of the Daily Challenged in Desert Racing
Day 5 reminded drivers and teams that the fine sand can easily become one of the most threatening challenges of desert driving. Even at low speeds, the sands can give way and leave challengers stuck in a ditch, struggling for hours. This challenge did not phase the Gazelles as they continue to take on each challenge daily in style and with the utmost elegance.
The morning of day 6 came with some interesting challenges. First, teams were required to change their own tire, trying to clock the fastest time. After which, each team had to select a representative to race to the top of a dune, fighting against gravity and poor footing. But after the fun and games, the main course for the day was a timed 226.8km drive in the direction of Zagora. Although the route was not a difficult one, but the sun beat down on the teams, leaving them exhausted and craving water at the pit stop for the night.
Day 7 – A Rally Is More Than Just Speed
Although some of the past days’ challenges were timed, the drivers were reminded that in a 4X4 rally, although speed may be of interest, it is still the capabilities of their vehicles and tires that will get them over the finish line. Being ahead in the race means nothing is they are unable to cross the finish line, and day 7’s still had numerous challenges between them and their goal, a coveted spot on the winners’ podium. The route was 400.70km long and neither the heat nor the terrain were any more forgiving than the days before, some may even argue that the conditions may have very well been worse. From the 5th kilometre, vehicles would have found themselves facing hostile terrain, with the Giti4X4 AT70s being tested to the extreme with uneven terrain that alternated between sharp rocks and soft sand, driver Helen had her hands and mind fully engaged to skilfully navigate the course until they reached the finish line amidst palm trees.
Day 8 – A Scenic Beach-side End
Before the final day dawns upon the racers in the Rallye des Aventurières Solidaires, the racers received a special delivery at night of fuel as the service station did not have any for the cars to refuel. When morning came, they headed for the white beaches of beautiful Agadir. Between them and their terminating destination lies the final 372km of the rally with a slight change in terrain due to the inclusion of water on the route. Once again, the Gazelles drove skilfully on to their goal, carried by Giti4X4 AT70s through sand, stone and water, without compromise on stability, resilience and control in both extremely dry and wet conditions.
The Results of an Arduous Journey
Throughout this arduous and exhilarating journey, the Giti Gazelles took on the harshest of conditions, powering through heat, sand, stone and water. We are glad to announce and congratulate the Giti Gazelles for emerging in a very respectable 4th position. But most importantly, living true to the Giti motto to Enjoy Driving. Most importantly, all profits from the rally was channeled back into cancer research, working towards reducing the impact of cancer on the lives of all around the world.
Learn more about the Rallye des Adventurieres Solidaires.
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