The scale of the challenge facing the inexperienced crews of the Future Terrain team on the Carta Rallye was made apparent shortly after I watched their trio of essentially road-spec Dacia Dusters tackle a dried riverbed.
Once they had carefully picked their way through, a loud diesel roar announced the arrival of a massive DAF FAV75 rally raid truck. With barely a lift of the throttle, it shot over the bumps and rocks of the riverbed as if they weren’t there, conquering Morocco’s exacting desert terrain by sheer brute force.
The scale of the achievement of the Future Terrain team was highlighted later: while one of the Dusters was sidelined by a radiator issue, the other two made it back to camp under their own power. Unlike the DAF truck, its crew crashing into a wad, and remaining stuck in the desert until a recovery team could pull them out long after dark.
Morocco’s wads, bumps, sand dunes and rocks – lots of rocks – are among the many tough challenges the Carta Rallye crews have to conquer – whether in the full Dakar-style Cross Country, like the DAF truck, or the GPS Cup, like the Future Terrain team.
The GPS Cup is an orienteering-style event where crews have to plot and negotiate their way around a string of checkpoints. While the speeds aren’t as quick as in the Cross Country, it’s still a tough test on a six-day event, and rewards route plotting and quick thinking as much as outright speed.