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American Team Chaos Captures Second Place Finish at 2016 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

Posted in News on April 1, 2016
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Photographers: Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

With the 26th Rallye des Aicha des Gazelles coming to an end after 10 grueling days of off-road racing, the American team, Chaos, was able to finish in Second Place. With more than 330 competitors and eight other American teams, this was no easy feat.

Team #180, piloted by Nicole Pitell-Vaughn and Chrissie Beavis, battled their way through tough terrain, weather, and issues with the 4x4 Toyota Tacoma they were racing to a podium finish. After battling through every leg of the race and being tied before the lead before entering the sixth leg of the race, Vaughan and Beavis were hoping for good weather so they could make up time and catch the first place team Zbinden/Steiner. Leg six was the ultimate test of their endurance, having to navigate the 156 miles of small dunes, dry lakebed, and the infamous Chegaga dunes in the Saharan Desert on little sleep proved to be a difficult task.

Unfortunately for Vaughan and Beavis, the winds picked up through the dunes, making reading terrain features for navigation nearly impossible. Despite the terrible sandstorm, they were able to hit all 11 check points on Day One, setting them up to make a solid run at first place on Day Two.

Vaughan and Beavis put all their chips on the line for the second day of leg six, trying to pick the best line on their map. As the second day continued, Vaughan and Beavis ended up taking a winder line then they had anticipated, while the first place team, Zbinden and Steiner ran a perfect line, costing Vaughn and Beavis valuable points. "We gambled and went all in today, and we doubled down. The map lied where we thought we could save some kilometers and it made it more challenging because we were on a Marathon Leg," said Pitell-Vaughan.

Even with an imperfect line on Day Two of leg six, Vaughan and Beavis were able to hit all 11 checkpoints without any major issues and thanks to their “Morocco Taco” they managed to take a provisional second place at the 26th Rallye Aicha des Gazelles.

This is the first time an American team has ever made the podium in the 4x4 class in the history of the rally. To make things even better for the American women, team #107 run by Susanah Hoehn and Jo Hannah Hoehn will podium in third place.

While the podium finish doesn’t come with a monetary prize you can bet the bragging rights are well worth it. We can’t wait to see what the American women bring to the rally next year, and we’re hoping for a First Place finish.

Source: Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

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