In a triumph for the new all-wheel-drive Sprinter, Daimler employees Astrid Ebermann and Sabrina Trillmann came in first in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in Morocco at the end of March.
The winning duo’s Crossover category vehicle is a new Sprinter 316 CDI 4×4. Only women take part in this motorsports event, which has been held annually since 1990. More than 160 teams from around 30 countries took part in the rally this year.
Even though every Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles begins at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the actual rallye starts in the Moroccan desert, on the far side of the Atlas Mountains. The drivers have to travel about 2,500 km, most of which is over unpaved surfaces, through terrain in which all-wheel-drive vans such as the new Sprinter 4×4 can fully demonstrate their offroad capabilities.
The rallye is divided into seven stages, including two “marathon” stretches lasting two days each and including nights spent out in the desert. Because the drivers don’t have navigation systems, they have to orient themselves with maps and compasses. This year, Astrid Ebermann and Sabrina Trillmann took the lead during the second of the seven stages and stayed there until they reached their destination. In keeping with tradition, the finish line was in the city of Essaouira in the far west of the North African country.
Mercedes-Benz Vans takes part with series-produced vehicles and is triumphant for the third time
The team from Mercedes-Benz Vans won the race in a series-produced vehicle that was only slightly modified for the rally. For this purpose, the Sprinter was fitted with special wheels and sand tires as well as with a rollover cage, underride protection, and bucket seats. The drivers were accompanied by a team of mechanics, who didn’t have to provide any assistance, however, except for making a few minor repairs and changing a tire. It’s proof of the women drivers’ skill and of the new Sprinter’s quality.
This year, Mercedes-Benz Vans took part in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles for the sixth time and achieved its third victory. The first win was achieved in 2009 by a team driving a Viano 4Matic. The second triumph occurred in 2011, when the van driven by the winners was a Vito 4×4.