The Aïcha des Gazelles Rally starts with glitz and glamour


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

Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, the race will begin at the Chapiteau de Fontvielle with a spectacular farewell awaited by enthusiastic spectators. Among the participants are two Monegasque officials, Céline Cottalorda and Sylvie Bertrand, who proudly represent the “Meerkats of Monaco” team. Their mission goes beyond the race: They drive through the desert to raise funds for the Panzi Foundation and support vulnerable people through targeted causes.

The Aïcha des Gazelles Rally offers a special perspective on motorsport, based on the environmentally friendly ethos introduced in 1990. Participants forego speed and GPS and navigate the rugged terrain using traditional off-road methods. The goal is not the normal “reach the finish line first,” but rather the strategic placement of checkpoints while minimizing mileage.

Being a gazelle goes beyond mere competition; It embodies a commitment to meaningful engagement. This rally is the only event of its kind certified to the ISO 14001 environmental standard, underlining its commitment to sustainability. Additionally, the company operates within a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) framework and emphasizes women empowerment and cultural respect in the regions in which it operates.

As the gazelles embark on this extraordinary journey, they embody the spirit of resilience, camaraderie and self-determination. The Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc Rally not only tests their skills, but also strengthens their voices in support of critical social causes, making them a beacon of inspiration on the global stage.

Start of the celebrations

The anticipation for this exciting start to the rally is now increasing. Set against the backdrop of the Stade Louis-II, 200 crews prepare for an expedition into the heart of the Moroccan desert, starting with the events leading up
to 2:15 p.m. Begin.

Before the vehicular action begins, Monaco pulsates with vibrant energy, providing a captivating prelude to the main event. The Fontvieille venue transforms into a bustling “launch village,” inviting adventurers of all ages to immerse themselves in the world of gazelles. From 10 a.m., the electrifying beats of the dance group “Street Art by CAWE” will ring in the air, setting the stage for an unforgettable day of celebration. DJ Kam plays melodies that fill the atmosphere with pulsating rhythms and heighten the tension.

Marked start with Prince Albert

At 2:15 p.m. the engines come to life as the first convoy of vehicles glides elegantly onto the forecourt of the Stade Louis-II, signaling the official start of the rally. A momentous occasion awaits you when His Royal Highness Prince Albert II himself presents the inaugural flag. Monaco proudly takes on the role of host, a departure from tradition as the rally starts from the principality for the first time, a departure from its previous launch pad in Nice.

Among the guests gracing the celebrations is Jean-Marc Généreux, judge of 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” force even the most hesitant to move to the rhythm. Following this dance spectacle, singer TBZ's soulful melodies will captivate the audience and accompany them with chart-toppers.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of activity, “Lego Masters” Julien and Eliès provide a touch of playful creativity, inviting the audience to let their imagination run wild with iconic Lego bricks.

Meanwhile, the poignant moment of camaraderie unfolds as all the Gazelles gather at 12:15pm for an unforgettable group photo that captures the spirit of unity and determination.

Monaco proudly showcases its diversity when two of them, Sylvie Bertrand and Céline Cottalorda, take part. As director of the Stade Louis-II and interministerial delegate for the promotion and protection of women's rights, they embody the essence of empowerment under the banner of the association The Meerkats of Monaco (“Les Suricates de Monaco”). Their mission goes beyond mere competition as they champion the cause of the Panzi Foundation.

With 17 nationalities represented among the 200 participating teams, Monaco is considered a beacon of global unity and solidarity.

The engines rev as the gazelles prepare to navigate the rough terrain. They embody the core principles of the rally: adventure, resilience and environmental protection. Monaco sets the stage for an epic odyssey and ignites the spirit of discovery and camaraderie that defines the Aïcha des Gazelles Rally.