Day 74

12. July 2000, Ouarzazate to Erfoud

When we got up this morning and looked at the temperature we already measured 32°C at 8AM and around 1PM we measured 43°C in the shadow which translated to nearly 50°C inside the car! The Sahara desert in midsummer is no fun place to break down, so we carefully watched our cooling water temperature gauge. When the engine gets too hot, the fuel tends to evaporate before it reaches the engine which is called vapor lock. Our engine started stuttering going up a hill a few times because of this, but we managed to control it by reducing our speed a little. Arriving in Erfoud we decided to take a brief nap after the exhausting trip before we would start our test section in the afternoon.

Kaya still has a high fever from the food poisoning in Marrakech and therefore stays in Erfoud while Karl and Sami leave for the afternoon desert test section. At 5:30PM the sun has disappeared behind clouds of sand that were thrown up by strong afternoon winds. With low visibility we were wondering how we would be able to follow the complicated route instructions for the test. Arriving at Dar Kaoua the winds had calmed down already and we could see the endless dunes of sand in front of us that would make up the last test section of this rally. Shortly after starting the test it became clear that the routebook was useless and so we resorted to simply following the orange arrows that were put up for us. We got lost doing this not because there were too few arrows pointing the way, but because of too many arrows pointing in all sorts of directions. We lost 5 minutes due to this losing 12 minutes total.

After the test we had dinner in midst the dunes in a beduin tent. Formidable food and local music stole us away for a few hours. Getting to the tent proved a little difficult, since we got stuck in a sand dune. Trying to get out we instantly overheated the engine causing vapor lock. This meant waiting in the sun for half an hour for things to cool down.

Check out our Dunes de Sable Special for some party pictures!

TC 276: Ouarzazate OUT
PC Tinejdad
  (218.45 km)
TC 277: Erfoud 1 IN
49 334.65 km
TC 278: Erfoud 1 OUT
TC 279: Dar Kaoua
03 24.25 km
PC A     (7.75 km)
PC B     (13.85 km)
PC C     (17.30 km)
TC 280: Dunes de Sable
30 (twelve minutes penalty) 20.80 km

Overall 2 hour 03 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

Igor with his Cadillac and David. David was with car 26 until Peking but joined Igor when his navigator dropped out. David is an expert mechanic and former race driver.

This part of Morocco is mainly desert...

...but there are many huge oases nourished by water streams flowing out of the mountains.

A party tent has been set up for us. It is already late evening, so the sun disappeared behind a haze.

Music and singing...

...delighted us all evening.



Moroccan style architecture

Passage check at Tinejdad

Finally we catch up with the other cars after getting stuck in the sand and waiting for the engine to cool down.

The first locals greet us on the way to the tent.

Locals who hope to sell some fossil stones and rallyists waiting for the food after sunset.


Phillip Young alias Syd Stelvio organized this great (and first ever) rally around the world, making the impossible possible. Kevin from the US-Mercedes-Team: "Sand in my shoes? Where did that come from?". Some local running away with our last drinks, or could that be Paul from car 88 in Arabic disguise?

Check out our Party Special for more photos!