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Gazelles Monaco Launch: Women’s Empowerment & Unique Eco-Adventure

The 33rd edition of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is set to kick off in the Principality of Monaco today Saturday, April 13, 2024. This extraordinary event brings together 400 women from diverse backgrounds, aged from 18 to 71, for a remarkable journey through the Moroccan Sahara.

Under the patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, the race will commence at the Chapiteau de Fontvielle, with a spectacular send-off expected by enthusiastic crowds. Among the competitors are two Monegasque civil servants, Céline Cottalorda and Sylvie Bertrand, proudly representing the “Meerkats of Monaco” team. Their mission extends beyond the race as they drive across the desert to raise funds for the Panzi Foundation, supporting vulnerable individuals through targeted causes.

The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles offers a distinct perspective on motorsports, rooted in its eco-friendly ethos established in 1990. Rejecting speed and GPS reliance, participants navigate the rugged terrain using traditional off-road methods. The goal is not the normal “reach the finish line first”, but to strategically locate checkpoints while minimizing mileage.

Being a Gazelle transcends mere competition; it embodies a commitment to meaningful engagement. This rally stands as the sole event of its kind certified by the ISO 14001 environmental standard, underscoring its dedication to sustainability. Moreover, it operates within a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) framework, emphasizing women’s empowerment and cultural respect across the regions it traverses.

As the Gazelles embark on this extraordinary journey, they embody the spirit of resilience, camaraderie, and empowerment. The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc not only tests their skills but also amplifies their voices in support of critical social causes, making it a beacon of inspiration on the global stage.

Starting Festivities

Anticipation now mounts for this exhilarating Rally launch. Amidst the backdrop of the stade Louis-II, 200 crews prepare to embark on a the expedition into the heart of the Moroccan desert, commencing with events leading to up
to a 2:15 pm. Start.

Before the vehicle action ignites, Monaco pulsates with vibrant energy, hosting a captivating prelude to the main event. The Fontvieille venue transforms into a bustling “starting village”, beckoning adventurers of all ages to immerse themselves in the world of the Gazelles. From 10 am onwards, the air resonates with the electrifying beats of the “Street Art by CAWE” dance troupe, setting the stage for an unforgettable day of festivities. DJ Kam’s spins tunes that infuse the atmosphere with pulsating rhythms, amplifying the excitement.

Flagged Start with Prince Albert

At 2:15 pm, the engines roar to life as the first convoy of vehicles gracefully glides onto the stade Louis-II forecourt, heralding the official commencement of the rally. A momentous occasion awaits as H.S.H. Prince Albert II himself bestows the inaugural flag-off. Monaco proudly assumes the mantle of host, a departure from tradition as the rally debuts from the Principality for the very first time, a departure from its former launch pad in Nice.

Among the guests gracing the festivities is Jean-Marc Généreux, judge from the hit TV show “Danse avec les stars”. His infectious enthusiasm transforms the marquee into a pulsating dance floor, where the disco-pop beats of “Dance the Night” compel even the most reluctant to sway to the rhythm. Following this dance extravaganza, the soulful melodies of singer TBZ will captivate the audience, serenading them with chart-topping hits.

Amidst the flurry of activities, the “Lego Masters” Julien and Eliès add a touch of playful creativity, inviting the public to unleash their imagination with iconic Lego bricks.

Meanwhile, the poignant moment of camaraderie unfolds as all Gazelles assemble for a memorable group photo at 12:15 pm, capturing the spirit of unity and determination.

Monaco is proudly showcasing its diversity as two of its own, Sylvie Bertrand and Céline Cottalorda, grace the starting line. As director of the stade Louis-II and interministerial delegate for the promotion and protection of Women’s Rights, respectively, they embody the essence of empowerment under the banner of the The Meerkats of Monaco (“Les Suricates de Monaco”) association. Their mission transcends mere competition as they rally for the cause of the Panzi Foundation.

With 17 nationalities represented among the 200 competing crews, Monaco stands as a beacon of global unity and solidarity.

Th engines will rev as the Gazelles prepare to navigate the rugged terrain. They epitomize the rally’s founding principles of adventure, resilience, and environmental stewardship. Monaco sets the stage for an epic odyssey, igniting the spirit of exploration and camaraderie that defines the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles.

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