The 2014 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles of Morocco has come to an end. It was the 24th running of the annual rally and four United States teams competed this year. This race is an all female navigational rally, where the goal is to drive in as straight a line as possible with points awarded for shortest distance between checkpoints instead of fastest time. GPS and cell phones are not allowed and there are no chase crews to help if things go wrong.
The provisional results are in and who was the number one USA team? It was team #183 “Indiana Joans” of Emme Hall and Sabrina Howells. The ladies took a yet unofficial 29th place out of 160 total entries in the 4×4 class. Congratulations! It is a grand achievement and the entire TFLcar and TFLtruck team is very happy for Emme and her navigator, Sabrina.
Logistics can be one of the most challenging aspects of a rally of this magnitude and we found it easiest to rent a vehicle from France and have it delivered to us in Casablanca.
Emme and Sabrina chose an Isuzu D-Max pickup truck this year with a 3.0L four banger, good for 161 HP and 265 lb-ft of torque. The diesel engine gets just under 20 MPG with power going to all 4×4 wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission.
The front of our truck is supported with an antiroll bar, upper and lower wishbones, and a torsion beam. The rear gets leaf springs with Bilsteins placed on all four corners. It’s riding on Hancook Dynamax AT tires, LT235/85 on 16″ wheels. It’s not a bad set up, but it’s fairly stock. What do you expect from a rental truck? Good thing this rally is based on navigation and not on speed.
The D-Max is carrying two spares, two sets of Maxtrax, a shovel, a sand rake, five quarts of oil, a jerrycan of water, basic tools, rations, a jack, an air compressor, slime, and some small parts. I’d also like to carry a spare clutch, spare tie rod, and one shock, but this may be tricky as I have to convince the mechanics to give those parts to me.
Mechanical assistance can be summoned while we’re out on the road without being assessed a penalty as long as the team is carrying the needed parts.
This was Emme’s and Sabrina’s second Gazelle rally together and they made big strides for such a great result. Can you image what they can do next year? The other three American teams were #107, #171, and #182. Congratulations to all of them and ww cannot wait for Emme to tell us all about the race.
Isuzu does not sell the D-Max in United States, but here is a video debut of its distant cousin – the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado: