FOUM ZGUID > OUM JRANE
Stage 3 - april 19th 2017
Stage 3: 345 km
Another long day, with a great variety of landscapes and pistes. Vast plains and fast tracks at the beginning, followed by the dunes of Erg Chegaga. Today the first gaps will be made and the rankings will change for sure. Navigation will certainly be a big part of this as well.
We start heading south on a track we had before, with changing fast and less fast passages and quite some bumps and holes - which actually is characteristic for this stage.
At approximately km 70 you will get at the dried lake Lac Iriki. The crossing is very, very fast, but beware of a very dangerous point with a deep ditch at km 75.
You stay on the Lac Iriki until the dunes. The first part of this stage is nice, the second part is quite nasty.
At km 83 we enter the dunes of Chegaga to cross the Erg all the way from west to east for about 30 kms. The first few dunes may seem quite high, but just a little further you will already leave this zone and by-pass the lot for a short while. Next you enter the dunes again, this time uninterrupted for about 25 kms.
You don't have to take the steep ones. Actually you don't have to cross any big dune if you don't want to. Just look around carefully, drive around some of the dunes to find the right corridor or crossing point. Remember that the shortest way isn't necessarily the quickest.
You will end up at an abandoned barracks after a bit of quite damaged track and a few small dunes. From there you head east, direction Mhamid. After some quite fast kilometres on a nice piste you will enter a sandy and dusty oued with a lot of feshfesh.
You leave the Oued Draa northwards towards the Jewish Dune. There, around km 186, we will have the mandatory lunch break at CH-RAV.
After this stop we go off piste. You will have to find your way on vision, so be careful. You will get to some more small, but treacherous dunes. After these you cross the tarmac road at km 196 to a fast track that leads you to a village. Pay attention to the speed zones of 50, 30 and then 70 kms.
After the village we'll have a terrible bumpy track into the mountains. Don't underestimate the hairpins.
From the military checkpoint at km 264 you'll enter the final 80 kms of stage 3. The first part is rather bumpy but going north the track becomes wider. There is a number of parallel tracks of which you have to choose the right one. The roadbook is designed for the main track, so if you choose to take a different track you will not have the correct notes.
The final 30 to 40 kms are on a huge plain where you can easily drive with 20 cars side by side. From 20 kms to the finish you will have no notes for 9 kms as it is just full throttle straight ahead. Take your chance to ventilate your frustrations at full strength.