Run through the desert

Daily News Egypt
4 Min Read

WESTERN DESERT, Egypt: An extraordinary run through the Western Desert of Egypt began at the tip of the Quattara Depression and continued into the environs of the Bahareya, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga Oases from April 21-30, 2006. Fenouil, director of Dakar 1994 and Rallye des Pharaons (1982-1994), was the brains behind the event.

The finale took place on the edge of the desert, on the dunes near the Saqqara Country Club, Cairo where Mido, (aka AbuYoussef: Toyota), and Azzam El Faruqi and Samia Allouba (Jeep Cherokee) raised the Egyptian flag in a historic, first time double victory for Egypt; the two Egyptian teams were neck and neck throughout the entire rally. The race kicked off with 19 all-terrain cars, two quads and four motorcyclists of five different nationalities.

This event featured a positive vibe throughout, despite a few uncomfortable moments for all concerned. The last few hours before the first bivouac gathered were tense as the final release of the motorcycles into Egypt met with bureaucratic difficulties. Emeco Travel sorted out the issue so that all foreign vehicles and participants were escorted safely to camp. Rami Siag and his wife Marie arranged all the subsequent bivouacs and catering.

Jean-Claude Morellet, known to the world as Fenouil, a humble man with a remarkable sense of humor, an inquisitive imagination and an insatiable passion for Egypt, has not only created Rallye des Pharaons, but has lured people, from all ages and walks of life to Egypt on trips and expeditions.

Danielle Rinaldi, a French ex-Ferrari dealer, says You are so fortunate to have such a desert … Danielle has been all over Egypt with Fenouil, her son, husband, Marc Rinaldi and friends, mainly as part of the organization, and she longs to return soon.

First Pharaons, first time in a 4×4. The organization, ambiance and this country are perfect. I m ready to repeat this experience next year, says Denis Liquiere, a French dentist.

The Israeli Bombardier team said that they had a great time on this rally, and were sure to return next year. Last but not least, the veteran Italian motorcycling champion, Franco Picco, who came in first among the motos in this rally as he skillfully swerved into the lead at the very last second, has been organizing moto safaris with Siag in Egypt.

Fenouil s witty illustrations in the Road Book highlighted great moments and sharpened the senses. Both professionals and amateurs experienced times of great suspense, times that required them to brave the elements and draw upon special driving skills. Nevertheless, it was the spirit of unity “sans frontiers that pulled this major event through and made it the success that it is.

Thanks to the organizers, photographers and the support teams, there was a strong perception of “joie de vivre in Egypt, along with an infusion of national pride and a strong awareness of how important it is to integrate international diversity via the neutral platform of such events.

The prize-giving ceremony was met with good cheer as Fenouil, Emeco Travel and Siag Travel stood side by side to congratulate the winners and runners up. The trophies were Pharaonic cats, in black and dark green, representing the beauty and wisdom of Egypt.

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