Rallye-Aïcha-des-Gazelles-3-13-13March 13th, 2013 (Oceanside, CA) – Five American teams will depart on Friday for one of the toughest all-female sporting events in the world, the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles.  The grueling off-road driving and navigation event will kick-off in two iconic locations before transferring to Southern Morocco’s most beautiful, challenging and unpredictable terrain.

Concurrent with the record number of American women participating this year, the rally organizers have designated Casablanca as the host city and ceremonial start for 23 North American and Moroccan teams.  The new 5-star beach resort, Hotel Mazagan, will host a welcome ceremony, press event and technical inspections.

Paris is the ceremonial start for European teams and will take place for the second year in a row at the famed Trocadéro Gardens across from the Eiffel Tower on Saturday the 16th.  127 teams from countries including France, Switzerland, Portugal, Slovakia, Belgium and Germany will gather together in the City of Lights for an official departure where their rally-prepped cars will line up amongst crowds of cheering supporters and global travelers.  In true Gazelle style, both ceremonies will carry the rally’s tradition of elegance and French flair in elaborate opening events.

Strengthening the American effort is the announcement of the first U.S. based company to sponsor the rally. Pompeian Inc., Baltimore based since 1906, is America’s largest national brand of olive oil, with innovative products such as grapeseed oil, OlivExtra blends and best-selling wine vinegars.  The company will be involved with the U.S. teams specifically and vehicles will bear their logo.  The brand’s involvement is a significant show of support to the growing American presence at the rally and the worldwide reach that continues to grow and expand beyond borders.  Pompeian Inc. CEO David Bensadoun states, “The Aïcha des Gazelles Rally is a celebration of women around the world, and Pompeian is proud to salute these strong and adventurous women by supporting the American teams taking part in the 2013 event.”

With the roaring of the engines only less than a week away, the rally’s schedule is as follows:

Prologue:  March 20th near Erfoud, Morocco
Official Start:  March 21st El Bega, Morocco
Competition Dates:  March 21st to 28th
Competition Finish – March 28th Foum-Zguid, Morocco
Closing Ceremonies:  March 30th Essaouira, Morocco

To follow teams live via satellite please visit the rally’s official website: www.aichagazellerally.com.

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