By Helene Clemenson
By Helene Clemenson
Morocco World News
El Fecht, Morocco, March 27, 2012
The Marathon Leg took its toll on the contenders and it could be read on most faces. The Organization team deliberate drew an easier leg comprised of large high speed driving areas, little of no technical difficulty and relatively easy checkpoints to access, a way to give the teams some time to recuperate.
The generosity of team 193 slowed them down on the Marathon Leg as they stopped more than once to pull other Gazelles out of the Dunes. A flew also hit the team adding to tension and slowed them down over the 2 last days. With no more obstacles on their way they stormed passed the 3 first checkpoints ahead of the race.
Team 193 didn’t come very far from having a collision on one of the speed sections. Team 174 closed in on them, with no apparent reason, at almost 100 km/h and missed them by a few inches on terrain where their was ample space to drive around… deliberately or not the tension escalated.
Upon arrival at checkpoint 3, one of the Moroccan Gazelles didn’t hesitate to remind the pilot of team 174, in no uncertain terms, the basic rules of safety and conduct of the Rally.
With this slight fright out of the way, the team reached basecamp well before sunset. We could see next to azellas carefully cleaning her car. Probably a way for her to show her affection and thank her for being such a close ally.
Team 166, was also extenuated by the Marathon leg. One of the girls hesitated to continue the day after Checkpoint 3. One of the reasons : a sand storm that shaked the Bivouac last night making it hard to catch any rest.
The team stopped over in a a local refuge along the way to refresh, eat, rest… recharge their batteries. Wise choice since it took successfully through all the checkpoints in due time.
The teams are becoming increasingly tense and it can be felt along the routes. But once the sun sets and the Gazelles join their Bivouac, spirits calm down.
Today, the girls will hit the road again on a long trail. The Bivouac will move south to get closer to the dunes of M’hamid. They’ll drive through beautiful landscapes… a consolation for all the efforts delivered.
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