More than 1000 people gathered in the marquee tent in Essaouira on Saturday, April 1, 2017 to ring out the 27th Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in style. A total of 158 teams, including 1 electric vehicle, participated in the 27th edition of this one-of-a-kind adventure. It is the only international off-road Rallye race for women only. Since 1990, it has been bringing together women between the ages of 18 and 71, from more than 30 different countries, who embark on an adventure of a lifetime from the French city of Nice and onward to the start of the Rallye in the Moroccan desert. Participants of the 2017 rally included model Kiera Chaplin and her teammate, Miss France 2005 Cindy Fabre, who came in 6th place out of 137 teams in their vehicle category.
For the closing Gala, and to celebrate the women being honored this evening, the room was decorated under the theme “Garden of Roses”. The Gazelles and their guests were received in a magical garden with birds singing, music and live entertainment with extravagant floral arrangements hanging from the ceiling. Beauty brand Maison Bronzini supported the event by offering all of the women present a product from their new line of olive-oil based cosmetics.
The evening was kicked off by Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles founder Dominique Serra and Philippe Baijot, CEO of Lanson, to the sound of popping corks of Tsarine champagne. In addition to a sumptuous gourmet menu, the Gazelles were also given the chance to discover the work of the Rallye’s cameramen and photographers through a succession of photos and videos of the Rallye, taking them back to the magic of the Moroccan desert where they just lived an incredible 10-day adventure.
Bruno Vandestick, the host of the world’s oldest active sports car race in endurance racing, 24h du Mans, was the Emcee of the evening. The Governor of Essaouira, Mr. Djamal Mokhtatar took the floor to applaud the Gazelles’ commitment, followed by the Interim Minister of Youth and Sport, Mr. Khalid Berjaoui, whose ministry shares the Rallye’s values of daring and pushing one’s limits. Mrs. Nada Roudies, Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism, emphasized Morocco’s commitment to promoting its magnificent cultural and natural heritage through sustainable development.
After dancing the night away, the Gazelles said goodbye or, in some cases, “see you next time”… as they are already looking forward to next year’s rally. After all, the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is an unforgettable human experience!
The 2017 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles winners and runners up were:
Expert Class: 1st place: Team 403 – Jeanette James & Anne Marie Borg, 2nd place: Team 438 – Hélène Grand Eury & Charlotte Zucconi, 3rd place: Team 420 – Delphine Bichoffe & Christine Hunka.
4×4/Truck Class: 1st place: Team 213 – Régine Zbinden & Lydia Christen, 2nd place: Team 169 – Véronique De Sybourg-Siffert & Laurence Brasey, 3rd place: Team 107 – Stéphanie Perusse & Céline Vega-Roïatti.
Crossover Class: 1st Place: Team 312 – Daphnee Stalport & Marjorie Demonceaux, 2nd Place: Team 311 – Aurore Ministrot & Civenty Abdallah, 3rd Place: Team 322 – Dominique Ferrero & Sophie Buclin.
Quad/Motorbike/SSV Class: 1st Place: Team 22 – Betty (Elisabeth) Kraft & Sonia Baudoin-Guerard, 2nd Place: Team 20 – Cath Keramidas & Maria Victoria Giraldo, 3rd Place: Team 23 – Prune Salti & Nathalie Peer.
First Participation Class (“First Participation” Class rewards teams who are participating in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc for the first time.): 4×4 / Truck Class: Team 195 – Cécile Berthoud & Fanny Delaplanche, Crossover Class: Team 312 – Daphnee Stalport & Marjorie Demonceaux, Quad Class: Team 24 – Frédérique Risser & Caroline Bugatti.
Team 500 (E-Gazelles Nezha Larhrissi and Pilar Cabellos) was the only team competing in the new electric vehicle category and as a result of their efforts, was rewarded a 3 night stay for 2 adults at luxury hotel Kasbah Tamadot in Asni, Morocco. The stay includes 3 nights’ accommodation, a Moroccan breakfast each day, a fully stocked mini bar and a tour of the Eve Branson Foundation workshops. The Eve Branson Foundation is a charity dedicated to enhancing living standards in some of the most impoverished rural communities in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
For a full list of all participants and rankings, please visit:
(Photo Credit: Maienga)
ABOUT Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles
The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is the only women-only off-road Rallye in the world. Created in 1990, this unique event brings women between the ages of 18 and 71 from more than 30 different countries together in the Moroccan desert. Since its inception, the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles has been creating a new vision of automobile competition: no speed and no GPS, just old fashioned navigation, completely off-road: a return to the roots of Adventure. The only requirement is determination. The women who take part in this Rallye—known as Gazelles—are of all ages, social backgrounds, nationalities and levels of off-road experience. Whether in a 4×4, Crossover, Quad, truck or motorbike, they all come to take part in a unique competition: whose competitors share the values of tolerance, solidarity and determination, that respects the host country and its people through the actions of the Rallye’s non-profit, Cœur de Gazelles, and that cares about the environment: the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles is the only motor Rallye in the world with ISO 14001 certification.
While the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles marks a return to the roots of adventure, it is also on the cutting edge of technology, with a satellite tracking system for optimal safety. A new vision for the world of motor sports! We have been putting forward a new vision of motor sport for years, with the development of an event where the pleasure lies in driving without excessive speed, and where the goal of driving the shortest possible distance is in line with our environmental commitment.
For more information, please visit: http://www.Rallyeaichadesgazelles.com/
Facebook: Rallyeaichadesgazelles | Instagram: @usagazelles | Twitter: @Rallye_Gazelles
ABOUT Cœur de Gazelles
Coeur de Gazelles is a group of highly motivated volunteers working daily to provide people with the help they need. A registered non-profit organization since 2001, Coeur de Gazelles is committed to providing sustainable aid through concrete actions. Our cross-border efforts must remain strong to allow us to uphold our values and continue to help those who are the most in need.
Coeur de Gazelles works on projects that meet the needs of Morocco’s remote populations: medical care, education, the environment and sustainable development, job training for women, improving living conditions and a desire to spread joy by distributing donations. Our actions are established on a “human scale”: we work with the local population to address the source of the problem. We work with and for the most disadvantaged: our actions enable people to become agents of their own development. We work in a spirit of partnership: we do not create alternative structures; we strengthen and develop existing local ones. We work with low operating costs: all donations are used for the direct benefit of the population. Our actions are recognized by the Moroccan government: we work on legitimate projects in collaboration with local authorities.
For more information, please visit: http://www.coeurdegazelles.org/
Facebook: COEUR-DE-GAZELLES | #CoeurDeGazelles
About Kasbah Tamadot
Kasbah Tamadot is a private and secluded retreat located in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Just under one hour’s drive from Marrakech, the hotel has 28 rooms and suites decorated in a unique style with artefacts from around the world. The hotel boasts an outdoor infinity edge pool with magnificent views, an indoor pool, spa treatment rooms, large hot tub, two tennis courts and beautiful gardens.
Kasbah Tamadot is home to the Eve Branson Foundation, a charity dedicated to enhancing living standards in some of the most impoverished rural communities in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It aims to help local people in the long term by setting up sustainable enterprises which include a carpet workshop and a craft house run and managed by local women. Guests can visit the projects and purchase a selection of handmade items in the Berber Boutique which supports the Foundation, with 30% of the sales revenue directly funding further projects.
For more information, please visit: http://www.virginlimitededition.com/en/kasbah-tamadot