Team American Chaos Work to Regain Top Position

by chaosfab on March 28, 2016

March 28th, 2016 (CORONA, CA) – In the history of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, no American team has ever won the coveted 4×4 class.  Although three U.S. teams including Team #180 American Chaos were in the top 5 of the class going into today’s Leg 4, a major shake-up is still possible as gaps begin to close between teams.

The CRC/TOTAL CHAOS Toyota Tacoma canvassing the terrain

The CRC/TOTAL CHAOS Toyota Tacoma canvassing the terrain

After an exhausting Marathon Leg over the weekend, today’s Leg 4 wasn’t the most difficult of days with the biggest challenge being fatigue, heat, and total distance covered – a looped leg of 160 km estimated at 9 hours with 7 checkpoints.  If teams wanted a chance of being dead-on, they needed to plot well and drive smart.  Team American Chaos did just that.

Beavis plots her checkpoints

Beavis plots her checkpoints

A Key Player – Strategy

With the Leg taking teams up over a very large muddy hill before they even hit CP1, some teams decided to go around the obstacle rather than take the risk head-on. The “safe” option; however, led them straight into mud. Team American Chaos made the decision to go over the hill and it paid off.  Beavis noted that with only 1.91 kilometers separating their team from the leaders, she and Pitell-Vaughan were really strategic during Leg 4.

“Our strategy today was definitely to take some chances to see if we could take back the lead, and we got lucky right away,” said Beavis. “We took a risky bet at CP 1 and it paid off big time. We went over a hill where we watched a lot of other competitors have to turn around. I put some MAXTRAX down, and we got up and over. Everyone else who had to go around then got stuck in the mud. We probably shaved about three kilometers.”

Team #180, the "Morocco Taco," and recovery devices MAXTRAX

Team #180, the “Morocco Taco,” and recovery devices MAXTRAX

Another influential area of the course was between CP 6 and 7. Team American Chaos decided to take an easier line here to conserve energy, whereas current leaders Team #179 Régine Zbinden and ElaSteiner took the opposite. They drove an exceptionally straight line in their Jeep Wrangler through the difficult dry riverbeds in an attempt to hold onto first place.  Ironically, right when Pitell-Vaughan and Beavispulled into CP 7, Team #179 pulled in behind them after having done the harder line. The two teams will likely be jostling for the lead the next few days. Beavis said they had an unofficial penalty for the day of 6.4 kilometers, which would be good news for the team.

Teams in the top must continue to bring their A-game with an excellent pace and navigational accuracy for a chance at first.  A tough final three days are ahead.

Pitell-Vaughan spreads the cheer

Pitell-Vaughan spreads the cheer


6 a.m. local time (10 p.m PST)

Rankings from each Leg are not official until noon local time the next day on the official rally website:

David Brumbley


All Photos:  Nicole Dreon/Maïenga