Morocco

Aïcha des Gazelles Rallye: another brilliant race for Delphine and Christine

30.05.2018

Delphine Bichoffe and Christine Hunka stepped up for the Aïcha des Gazelles Rallye held from the 16th to the 31st of March 2018, an all-female orienteering race between the Moroccan cities of Erfoud and Essaouira. BFGoodrich® once again supported and accompanied Christine and Delphine for this 2018 edition which marked their 10th year of collaboration and ended with 5th spot on the leaderboard. A look back at this exceptional rallye-raid.

If there is one word that sums up Christine Hunka and Delphine Bichoffe, it has to be passionate. Passionate about driving, about the desert, about racing. BFGoodrich® has been supporting the two ladies at the Aïcha des Gazelles rallye for three years now. After a third spot at the 2017 edition, our "gazelles" were aiming to go even higher this year.

But easier said than done. The Aïcha des Gazelles is an orienteering rallye raced without smartphones or GPS. The only tools allowed are a map and compass! "You have to be able to assess the difficulties encountered en route and elect either to drive around them or through them, with all the risks that that entails, like for instance terminal damage to the vehicle or getting stuck in sand," summed up Delphine and Christine.

The pace was set from day one for the whole rallye: up at 4 am, briefing at 5, starting line at 6. A testing tempo for a first stage where Delphine and Christine were down in 24th place. This was a drawback the two ladies tried to overcome by all means possible, navigating across sandy expanses, tackling sand dunes and crossing the Oued Ziz, all the while gradually climbing up the leaderboard.

"The 5th stage was the first marathon stage," they recalled. "We said we wouldn't give an inch, that a top 10 or even a top 5 spot was possible." The stage crossed black mountains and some impressive landscapes like the Tafenna cirque, a huge crater that looks like it was impacted by a meteorite. This is why the Rallye des Gazelles is such a popular event: breath-taking landscapes, real moments of exchange and sharing, and always the opportunity to push your limits to new extremes.

Delphine and Christine shot up the leaderboard in spectacular fashion: after the 5th stage they were in 8th place overall, then the last marathon stage took them to within sight of the winner's podium. 19 places gained in a single week. "On the last day, we were driving across lunar landscapes, where the rocks seemed to be cut out from the turquoise blue skies of Morocco. A magnificent sight to cross the line in 4th position for the stage. Meaning we ended the rallye in 5th spot overall," concluded our two contenders.

On top of that, let's not forget that besides being a sporting event, the Aïcha des Gazelles is first and foremost a human and humanitarian adventure. The "Cœur de Gazelle" association works every year on a voluntary basis to provide medical consultations for the villages that the rallye drives through. Driven by an admirable spirit of mutual support, Delphine and Christine once again this year defended the values of BFGoodrich® all the way. Huge congratulations to our gazelles for this 10th adventure together.

©  photos: Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles

"This 10th Aïcha des Gazelles rallye together was full of twists, we started out with a serious drawback but then ended in the top 5, we gave nothing away from start to finish…"

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