Corporate / Product
Rally princess and desert fox continue into the Sahara despite Dakar rally cancellation March 24th, 2008
By Cecilia Gustafsson
Press & Communications Manager
Kia Motors Sweden
When the Dakar Rally 2008 was cancelled due to terrorism threats, most of the contenders went back home. But two prominent Swedish motorists couldn’t resist the call of the world’s largest desert and continued to travel deep into the Sahara anyhow.
Swede Annie Seel, who has taken part in two previous Dakars, took her KTM motorcycle to Moroccan Sahara to train for future rallies, and Swedish world adventurer Christer Gerlach, who many of you will remember from the 2005 ‘Sorento Around the Word’ expedition, drove the same Kia Sorento 4WD thru Morocco and West Sahara to explore new tracks.
Annie Seel, 40 years of age and all 53-kilos of her, is a previous female world champion in rally raids and was one of the favourites in the ladies cup in this year’s Dakar rally. Annie is also the first woman to travel by motorcycle to the Mount Everest base camp.
Seasoned desert fox Christer Gerlach, journalist and writer, crossed the Sahara for the first time in 1972 and has since made several Sahara crossings. He has also driven solo around the world three times. He has been granted two entries in the Guinness Book of Records and is considered the most experienced solo driver in the world.
“My intention was to get to the finish line for the Dakar ahead of the rally,” he says.
“When the rally was cancelled I did some traveling in the desolate areas of southern Morocco and West Sahara for my writing.”
The two Swedes met in Marrakech to exchange info on desert driving.
Christer drove the same Kia Sorento V6 he used when going solo around the world via Mongolia and Siberia in 2005. The first ever to complete a solo circumnavigation of the globe via Siberia.
“The Sorento is a great vehicle for this kind of driving,” he says. “It is very sturdy and reliable. Since the around the world trip and the visit into the Sahara there have been no repairs made to the car – only ordinary service. I had new Hankook tyres for desert driving put on. The trick is not to overload the car and stick to the original parts to keep it going.”