Team American Chaos Capture History-Making Provisional Second Place Finish

by chaosfab on April 1, 2016

March 31st, 2016 (CORONA, CA) – The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles has officially lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest all female sporting events on the planet.  In the stretch of final Leg 6, two teams battled it out for the lead.  One of them was Team #180 American Chaos, Nicole Pitell-Vaughan and Chrissie Beavis.

The CRC/TOTAL CHAOS Toyota Tacoma stealing the spotlight

The CRC/TOTAL CHAOS Toyota Tacoma stealing the spotlight

The Final Countdown

“My racing has taught me that it’s not over until it’s over,” – Chrissie Beavis, 2013. 

Team American Chaos began their morning back from a broken rear shock mount on Leg 5, where they had to drive in first and second gear only.  It was sent to the mechanics that evening, but coupled with little sleep the night before, it’s safe to say they knew this final leg would be their ultimate test of endurance.

Vehicles gather at a CP

Vehicles gather at a CP

Leg 6 was a 235 km landscape mixed with small dunes, a huge dry lakebed, and the famed Chegaga dunes.  Although not as spectacular as the Erg Chebbi dunes, they are nonetheless haunting and have a reputation amongst competitors.

Competitors will be dreaming of these dunes about two months from now

Competitors will be dreaming of these dunes about two months from now

Beavis remarked prior to Leg 6, “The Chegaga dunes can be tricky to navigate through if it’s a hazy or sand-stomy day.  My fingers are crossed for good weather that day.”

Unfortunately, Beavis did not get her wish.  The winds kicked up and made long distance navigation virtually impossible, with sandstorms in the dunes so bad that teams could barely see the horizon.  Since this is a competition about reading terrain features, that lack of visibiliy meant teams had use every ounce of mental sharpness left in them.

You can always count on sandstorms in the Sahara

You can always count on sandstorms in the Sahara

Pitell-Vaughan and Beavis performed well the first day, nailing all of their checkpoints.  Despite the weather, they seemingly breezed through a few expert X CPs early in the dunes.

Going into the second day of the Final Leg, the competition still could not be predicted.  First place Team #179 Zbinden/Steiner, two air-traffic controllers, had neatly impeccable lines – setting a difficult path for even the experienced to beat.  Pitell-Vaughan and Beavis began on point, yet as their route continued, took a few wider lines which ultimately affected their score.

“We gambled and went all in today, and we doubled down. The map lied where we thought we could save some kilometers and it made it more challenging because we were on a Marathon Leg,” said Pitell-Vaughan. “But the CRC/TOTAL CHAOS Tacoma performed flawlessly in the dunes .”

If these tires could talk

If these tires could talk

The team nailed all 11 checkpoints without any major issues and had a solid pace during the 2-day leg.  And being prepared didn’t hurt. Team American Chaos’ well-prepped Toyota Tacoma was a crowd stand-out.

“We torture tested the TC +2” Race series LT kit for 1048 kilometers through the most brutal terrain imaginable. The King shocks worked flawless,” stated Pitell-Vaughan. “The TRD supercharger made navigating the dunes so easy and the Baja Designs LED Lights allowed us to find our way back to the bivouac at night.”  All in a day’s work for the Morocco Taco.

Teammates pause to survey the scene

Teammates pause to survey the scene

Unlike previous Gazelle Rallys, no sudden plot twists in the top were presented in these final few days, which demonstrated the utter concentration that went into these teams’ performances.

History in the making

Team American Chaos’ provisional results show they’ll likely keep their second place standing.  And if that’s the case, they’ll be packing some well-deserved bragging rights.

There's no monetary prize for podium-finishing, which Beavis is just fine with

There’s no monetary prize for podium-finishing, which Beavis is just fine with

No American team has ever podium-finished the 4×4 class in the rally’shistory, but this 26th edition will change that (in 2011 Emily Miller was the first American competitor to podium, alongside teammate Armelle Medard of France).  Team #180 officially placing second will not only make them one of the first American teams to podium in 4×4 class (American Team #107 Hooehn/Hoehn’s provisional results show third place) they’ll become the highest ranking American team ever in the class.  Not bad, Chaos.

Pushing limits, tackling the highest dunes in Morocco, Macgyveringvehicles – just another day for Pitell-Vaughan and Beavis.

Pitell-Vaughan in the middle of it all and loving it

Pitell-Vaughan in the middle of it all and loving it

“We had an amazing adventure filled with laughs,” stated Pitell-Vaughan. “And Team 179 were awesome competitors that kept us in the game.  Thank you to CDV mechanics for repairing the busted rear shock mount. Thanks to Zakaria and Atraxion 4×4 for rescuing the Morocco Taco from container prison. And thank you to team TC for believing in us.”

Rankings

Official final rankings, including today’s, are expected Saturday, April 2nd on the official rally website:

www.rallyeaichadesgazelles.com

MEDIA INQUIRES

David Brumbley
media@chaosfab.com
951.737.9682
All Photos:  Nicole Dreon/Maïenga
COMPANY PROFILE    
     PRODUCT DISCLAIMER