British Team To Compete In World'S Only Female Rally
Thirty-five year old Arlene Winter will be swapping her Citroën C5 for a Mitsubishi L200 this April, as she becomes part of the first ever British team to compete in the Rally Aicha des Gazelles - the only exclusively female car rally in the world.
The Rally des Gazelles, sponsored by TOTAL, is now in its 15th year. Kicking off on the 21st April and taking place in the Moroccan desert, each two-woman team typically covers over 2,500 kilometres of gruelling terrain in eight days.
The Rally is a real test of endurance, stamina and navigational skills. Teams are required to find their way across the course, passing through several compulsory checkpoints, using only a map and compass and no GPS. Starting at 6am every day the teams, consisting of a driver and a navigator, are on the road for between 14 and 18 hours each day.
2005 is the first year that TOTAL UK has entered a team. Bedford-based retail regional manager Arlene was selected to be the company's driver following a lengthy selection process including a training weekend at a military base in Chaumont, France. Former competitor Lyne Guerer from Canada will partner Arlene - who has had no previous rallying experience -- and will navigate for her during the rally as she competes against other teams from all over the world.
Arlene spoke of her honour to be selected following the training weekend: "This is a chance of a lifetime for me and I'm just amazed to be going. It still hasn't really sunk in that I'll be in Morocco in just over a month's time taking part in what will be an amazing challenge. I'm a little nervous and I'm racing to get as fit as I can for the start of the race so I can give it my best shot."
Emma Carter, Events and Sponsorship Manager at TOTAL UK said: "The Rally Aicha des Gazelles is a unique event in the world motorsport calendar and one which TOTAL is proud to be involved with. When we had the chance to send one of our employees to Morocco we realised that we had to offer this opportunity to all the women in our company and we were delighted at the level of responses. It was difficult to choose Arlene from so many outstanding candidates. We hope she competes well and look forward to following her journey in the dunes."