Mercedes-Benz vehicles deliver a good performance in the desert
- Fifth and seventh place for the two Mercedes-Benz Vito driven by Daimler women employees
- Sixth place in the overall rankings for the Sprinter craftswomen
- Slightly modified Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter vehicles convince
- The “Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles”: a race for a good cause
Morocco/Stuttgart – On March 30, 2013 the Daimler employees Coralie Lejeune and Susanne Ehmer, Sabrina Trillmann and Astrid Ebermann, as well as the skilled trades team members Sabrina Mayer and Larissa Lauber crossed the finish line of the “Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles” exhausted but satisfied. The Mercedes-drivers were able to capture top positions with their standard production transporters in the rallye’s most important rankings.
In particular the last stage of the rallye was a real challenge. Not only the drivers’ visibility was significantly restricted by a sandstorm, but the navigation also became extraordinarily difficult, as the eight checkpoints were hard to find in the changing landscape. Yet, despite these obstacles, the Daimler employees Coralie Lejeune and Susanne Ehmer in their Mercedes-Benz Vito 4×4 managed to finish the race safely with an excellent fifth place in the Crossover category.
The second Daimler team — Sabrina Trillmann and Astrid Ebermann — also driving a Mercedes-Benz Vito 4×4, achieved a respectable seventh place in the Crossover category. The third team – the skilled trades team – consisting of the optician Larissa Lauber and Sabrina Mayer, employee in a car body shop, faced the difficult task of driving a Sprinter in the Crossover segment in competition with smaller off-road vehicles from all top manufacturers. Because of their long wheelbases, vans have a particularly hard time maneuvering through the sand dunes typical in the Sahara. Nevertheless, the two women were able to secure a solid sixth place in their Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4.
Slightly modified Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter vehicles convince
Both the two Mercedes-Benz Vito 4×4 models and the Sprinter driven by the skilled trades team were all standard production vehicles. The all-wheel-drive models, which were modified only slightly for the desert race, finished the rallye without any problems to speak of and displayed an outstanding traction, in spite of the extremely demanding conditions they had to face. The fuel-efficient four-cylinder diesel engine (OM 651) introduced in the Vito in 2010 was very impressive in terms of its driving performance.
The third rallye vehicle — a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 — was equipped with a standard three-liter diesel engine with an output of 140 kW (190 hp), a manual transmission, and an ex works all-wheel-drive system with open central and axle differentials.
The “Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles”: a race for a good cause
As was the case in the previous three years, physically fit female Daimler employees with a basic knowledge in French were welcomed to apply to take part in the “2013 Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles”. This year, however, it was the first time that two craftswomen, who were selected via a tender in a skilled crafts and trades magazine, had the chance to participate in the rallye.
The “Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles” is organized by women for women. The race, which is run under the patronage of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, covers a total distance of 2,500 kilometers and consists of six stages, two of which are marathon segments that each last two days. A total of 300 women from 20 countries took part in this year’s race. The “Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles” offers no prize money; instead, all proceeds from the competition (sponsorships and participation fees) are donated to projects that help the people of Morocco.
A medical convoy makes its way through the country during the race, stopping along the way to provide medical assistance to nomads living in remote areas. This year the participating physicians conducted more than 6,000 consultations during the race and also performed over 100 operations on site.