Kiera Chaplin And Sophie Tapie

More than 1000 people gathered in the marquee tent in Essaouira, Morocco on Saturday, March 30, 2019 to ring out the 29th Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in style. A total of 165 teams participated in the 29th edition of this one-of-a-kind adventure. It is the world’s first international off-road Rally 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 2019 rally included actress Kiera Chaplin (@kierachaplin), who came in 11th place of some 126 entrants in her 4x4/Truck category with her partner singer, Sophie Tapie (@sophietapie).

The gala was attended by the Gazelles’ loved ones in addition to all the event’s partners, who had made the trip to Essaouira specially for this event. The festivities took place in a large marquee tent decorated in Moroccan style. “It’s grandiose, magical!” said Nathalie of Team 105 (Nathalie Rossini-Racaud / Nathalie Levert - Umanove). Dominique Serra (serra.dominique.7), head of the operating agency Maïenga opened the ceremony. The evening’s surprises included a phone call from Christine Lagarde (@Lagarde), Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “I am full of admiration and respect for everything you have accomplished” she declared, live from New York.

The event partners were thanked once again for their support, and the winners of each competition class were then called to the stage to receive more gifts: the iconic golden sand ladder necklace, symbol of the Rallye; a Saint-Honoré Paris watch; and Afriquia fuel coupons. The diner was accompanied by beverages supplied by Rallye partners Tsarine, Les Celliers de Meknès and Les eaux d’Oulmès. Images and videos of the Rallye were projected onto big screens, to the sound of “ohs” and “ahs” whenever a team recognized themselves. Emotions ran high as the room watched scenes from this year’s medical caravan in a video on Coeur de Gazelles. Sophie Tapie, crew 216, played two songs from her repertoire followed by Jérémy Frérot who made the surprise of coming and singing several songs gathering all the Gazelles on stage around him. After dessert, it was time to dance! The Gazelles hit the dance floor, eager to enjoy one last evening together and create ensemble and create still more good memories of their incomparable adventure.

The 2019 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles winners and runners up were:

4x4/Truck Class: 1st place: Team 200 (Jeanette JAMES, Murielle TARRAZI),

2nd place: Team 207 (Tania LIO, Régine ZBINDEN), 3rd place: Team 190 (Anne-Marie BORG, Yolande BENS).

Quad/SSV/Moto Class: 1st place: Team 29 (Elisabeth KRAFT, Sonia BAUDOIN-GUERARD), 2nd place: Team 25 (Véronique DE SYBOURG-SIFFERT, Laurence BRASEY), 3rd place: Team 20 (Catherine KERAMIDAS, Alexandra CHAPUIS).

Crossover/SUV Class: 1st place: Team 312 (Frédérique ROBYR, Malika SCHMALZ), 2nd place: Team 311 (Stéphanie d'HEILLY, Marina DUMEAU), 3rd place: Team 316 (Sandrine LONGUET, Marlène MATHIOT).

E-Gazelles Category: 1st place: Team 510 (Stéphanie GUERRY, Carine POISSON), 2nd place: Team 505 (Aurélie DARD, Stéphanie PERUSSE), 3rd place: Team 502 (Virginie HENRIOT, Lucile ASSIE).

About Rallye Aïcha de Gazelles

The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is the first women-only off-road rally in the world. Created in 1990, 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 rally—known as “Gazelles”—are of all ages, social backgrounds, nationalities and levels of off-road experience. Whether in a 4x4, Crossover, Quad, truck, motorbike or electric car 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 automotive rally 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. We have been putting forward a new vision of motor sport for years, with the development of an event where the adventure lies in driving without excessive speed, and where the goal of driving the shortest possible distance is in line with our environmental commitment.

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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.

Photo Courtesy of Lawlor Media GP