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What happens during the rally

In the opinion of those who’ve taken part in the adventure, the 4L Trophy™ Rally isn’t something to be talked about: you have to experience it first-hand.

Over the course of ten days, time stands still and you forget your “other life.”  Against a backdrop of sumptuous landscapes, you keep moving forward, everyone supporting one another, meeting new people, discussing and exchanging ideas – and the result is that competitors finish the trip with a new outlook on life.  For the crews, the schedule involves a 6,000 kilometers journey on paved roads and dirt tracks through France, Spain, and Morocco, with the final destination being Marrakesh.

The adventure starts with two days spent at the Departure Village, which will be in Biarritz from 14 to 15 February.

Each crew is subject to technical and administrative checks carried out by the organisation and is only authorised to cross the starting line once full compliance with the regulations is achieved.

All teams make their own way towards Algeciras for a meet-up and a large briefing session on Saturday 17 February on Spanish territory, after which everyone heads to Morocco via ferries that are specially chartered by the organisation to cross the Strait of Gibraltar.

From 18 February to 23 February, it’s time for the ultimate adventure on the Moroccan stages of the rally: desert tracks, sand dunes, breathtaking landscapes, navigation by compass-point and sometimes, being overwhelmed by the sands – not to mention life in the bivouac between Moroccan dinners, the crackling campfires, watching the video highlights of the day on the big screen or even getting your hands dirty making repairs in the workshop area, all in the wide open desert in the middle of nowhere!

On Friday 23 February, the teams arrive in Marrakesh, while the grand prize-giving evening will take place there on Saturday 24 February 2018.

The following day, the adventure comes to an end in Algeciras after the return crossing by boat, and everyone heads home at his or her own pace, with memories filling their minds.

              
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Dates to remember

  • 31 Mars 2017: Closure of Avant-Première Pre-registration.
  • 31 May 2017: Closure of Privileged Pre-registration.
  • 30 November 2017 : Closure of Pre-registration (or earlier if the quota is reached).
  • 15 December 2017 : Deadline for submitting final applications and definitive closing date for registration.
  • 14 & 15 February 2018 : Two days at the Departure Village in Biarritz. Mandatory technical and administrative checks for all crews, after which crews make their own way to Algeciras to meet up.
  • 16 & 17 February 2018 : Reception and briefing session in Algeciras (Spain).
  • 17 & 18 February 2018 : Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar by boat.
  • 18 – 23 February 2018 : 6 stages in the Deep South of Morocco.
  • 23 February 2018 : Arrival in Marrakesh.
  • 24 February 2018 : Rest day – Prize giving – End-of-event party.
  • 25 February 2018 : Boat trip and independent travel in Europe.
              
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The Departure Village

The rally starts with a Departure Village, the aim of which is to bring together all crews that are taking part in the event for a single, general departure point.  At this pressured time, the organisers undertake technical and administrative checks of the crews, covering issues such as passports, car insurance, medical interviews, driving licence checks, student cards, and a list of the school supplies to be delivered.

This year’s Departure Village will take place on 14 and 15 February 2018 in Biarritz. Mandatory technical and administrative checks for the competitors will be on the agenda, alongside a number of events for the general public.  The highly-anticipated departure will be announced to the competitors at around 12 noon.

Once the departure signal has been given, the teams will head through southern Europe to Algeciras, where specially chartered ferries will await them and take them to northern Morocco.  This marks the true start of the Rally, with the organisers assuming control of the events.

              
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A typical day on the Rally

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Morning: all crews prepare for a new day on the Rally. After a traditional Moroccan breakfast, each crew arrives at the departure checkpoint, road book and compass in hand, at the specified time, where the mandatory checks are undertaken.

Then it’s time for the 4Ls to head off for a day on the rally stages. On the agenda are desert trails, sand dunes, breathtaking landscapes, navigation by compass-point and sometimes, being overwhelmed by the sands. Participants make their own lunch arrangements, often stopping in the middle of the desert to enjoy a picnic that would be worthy being called a feast for some people.  Be careful to avoid stopping for too long to ensure that you arrive at the bivouac before nightfall.

In the evening, each 4L passes through the final checkpoint to confirm arrival at the bivouac and for the milometer to be removed.  Depending on the crews’ times of arrival, and how tiring the day has been, everyone is free to make his or her own arrangements for the evening.  After a Moroccan dinner, some feel attracted to the noise of the tom-tom drums, the guitar melodies and the crackling of the campfires.  Others prefer to rest.  As for the unluckiest crews, they spend their evenings getting their hands dirty at the mechanics’ area – which is an adventure in itself!  A communal break for everyone generally takes place around 8 p.m., for a briefing and to view the day’s video headlines, with a summary of the stage being shown on the big screen – all held in the desert, in the middle of nowhere.

              
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Arrival in Marrakesh

The crews will arrive in Marrakesh on 23 February 2018 following the marathon stage.

After a good night’s rest in a four-star hotel and a free day, the crews will reassemble on Saturday, 24 February around 5 p.m. at a key location in Morocco’s southern capital for the end-of-event party as well as an unforgettable prize giving session.

On Sunday 25 February, it’s an early start in the morning, heading for the departure point.  All good things must come to an end, and this time, the end takes the form of a boat trip to Algeciras followed by an independent return through Europe for all participants.

              
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