Team #109 – Emily Miller/Armelle Medard drive through the dunes.

MERZOUGA
The dunes of Merzouga are not just any dunes. They are the largest sand mountains in Morocco. Teams had three options yesterday when choosing their route:

“X” checkpoints – Most difficult, no penalty points.

“X-bis” checkpoints – Intermediate, penalty points per checkpoint.

“Normal” checkpoints – Easy, penalty points per checkpoint.

Team #109 hit every “X” checkpoint and was back to the bivouac before most of the media vehicles were. “The dunes are why I compete in this event,” Emily Miller comments. “It pushes you to your ultimate limit and your vehicles as well.”

Most first year teams choose to stay out of the dunes for safety purposes but Team Lerner Reina came to compete. Hitting two of the five “X” checkpoints Team 107 ranks in 31st place overall. An incredible accomplishment for the novice team.

Heart of Gazelles
Sharing and solidarity are two very real values shared by the Gazelles. The rally puts its strength and its image to the service of Moroccan locals through the Heart of Gazelles, a registered non-profit organization in existence since 2001.

Staff and media joined the founders of the rally to visit two local schools the Heart of Gazelles built. The day was very special for everyone in attendance, children now have a place to build knowledge and self-esteem.

A rally volunteer plays with a student at one of the schools Heart of Gazelles created.

TWO DAYS AND ONE NIGHT IN THE DESERT
Tomorrow marks the first of two marathon legs. Each team must travel 400 kilometers across the desert to reach the 3rd bivouac in Mhamid.

WHAT IS A MARATHON LEG?
Two days of competition where teams must spend one night in the desert without bivouac support and French Army rations for food.
HOW MANY CHECKPOINTS?
Seventeen. Teams can hit eight checkpoints in the first day.
COMMUNICATION
Rally officials, staff and media will join the Gazelles in the desert making all communication still until Tuesday evening.

*These updates are from the U.S. media liaison during the event as all communication is taken from competitors.