A Major Effort from the United States for the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles

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Outdated maps, no GPS, no cell phones and no support crews add to the challenge, pushing each driver and navigator to their limit. There is no prize money at the finish, just accomplishment and pride.

U.S. Team Emily Miller and Armelle Medard #109 depart from the start line of the Prologue

“The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles and Pompeian join together to support and celebrate the inspiring stories of everyday women who are driven to compete,” Pompeian’s Marketing Manager, David Bensadoun.

Clouds of sand and dirt followed 110 vehicles returning from the Prologue this evening to kick off the official start of competition for the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles. For eight days, 220 women representing 15 countries will compete in the 21st edition of the grueling off-road rally. The United States makes a major effort in 2011 with three Americans and one U.S. sponsor participating in the highly respected event.

The Gazelle Rally stands apart from other off-road events where the competition’s goal is to finish with the fewest number of kilometers as opposed to finishing with the fastest time. The rally is open to professionals but teams are primarily amateurs with a serious sense of adventure. Outdated maps, no GPS, no cell phones and no support crews add to the challenge, pushing each driver and navigator to their limit. There is no prize money at the finish, just accomplishment and pride.

Three Americans will be competing this year, hailing from both coasts. Emily Miller, professional off-road racer, returns for her third competition with French navigator and 2008 rally winner, Armelle Medard to form Team #109. The American-French duo are slated the team to watch in 2011.

Newcomers to the rally are team #107 comprised of sisters Amy Lerner and Tricia Reina. Growing up in a family that loved cars and racing, they began training last year for the specifics of the unique format. Lerner has taken the role of pilot and Reina will handle the navigation duties.

Joining the United States competitors will be the rally’s first American sponsor, Pompeian Olive Oil. “The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles and Pompeian join together to support and celebrate the inspiring stories of everyday women who are driven to compete,” declared Pompeian’s Marketing Manager, David Bensadoun. “In addition, the rally’s dedication to humanitarian efforts and environmental initiatives are in alignment with the values we share at Pompeian. We are honored to be a part of an inspiring, eco-friendly and influential event.”

Those interested in learning more and following the rally can track it live via satellite by visiting http://www.rallyeaichadesgazelles.com. To follow the progress of the United States effort, join on Facebook at U.S.A. Gazelles.

ABOUT THE RALLYE AÏCHA DES GAZELLES:
The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles was created in 1990 by Dominique Serra. The event, held annually in Morocco, is owned and produced by Maïenga Communications, France. In addition to serious competition, the rally is known and respected for extensive humanitarian and environmental efforts. Focused initiatives combined with staff and competitor support have brought significant improvement to the health and welfare of the region and serve as an environmental example to other rallies being the only off-road event in the world to achieve ISO 14001 certification. To learn more, log on to http://www.rallyaïchadesgazelles.com.

Media Contact:
Kellan Van Hoesen
Mobile: 203.249.1340
Skype: KellanVanHoesen
kellan(at)soulsidenetwork(dot)com

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