Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is a rally which is held in the deserted parts of southern Morocco. The distinctive feature of the rally is that participation is restricted to women only.
The Rally consists of one prologue and six legs, all entirely off-road, two of which are marathon legs lasting two days. A total of 2,500 kilometers through dried-out river beds, shock absorber-busting stony plains and the sandy dunes of the western Sahara desert have to be covered by the teams with only a compass and a 1:100,000 scale map to plot their route between checkpoints.
GPS, and any kind of binoculars and cell phones are forbidden items. The winner is not the fastest team but the one which has traveled the least number of kilometers on the onboard odometer between checkpoints within a given time frame (distance driven minus straight-line distance). Penalty kilometers are allocated for missed checkpoints and requests for technical assistance. For safety reasons, the teams are constantly monitored by a satellite tracking system.
The first rally was organised in 1990. There is no prize money up for grabs for the participants. The money generated helps to finance teams of doctors providing medical care for the population in the remote regions of Morocco also aiding children’s education and orphanage for children under six years of age.
In the 24th running of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles 2014 there were 320 competitors from 24 countries with some of them ex-Olympians, professional rally drivers, celebrities, and more than half were the first-timers.
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