Today marks the return of the 13th Pharaons' Rally in Egypt's western desert. The 5-day race began this morning at the Giza Pyramids.
"The rally this year serves as the last leg of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, attracting a number of foreign drivers and a record crew total of 142," says Ahmed Senna, navigator for the Ecurie Egypt team alongside pilot Azzam Farouky.
One hundred and twenty-six SUVs, motorcycles, buggies and classic cars are participating in the race. A media show also ran from 8 to 10:35 AM.
The rally course is 2547km long and contestants will traverse through the desert from Cairo to al-Rammak and then on to Bir Karaween, Abu Mingar, Sitra, and Siwa. The race will end in al-Alamein on 9 October.
Every morning starting from 5 or 6 AM, the cars will begin the 300-400km daily leg with an estimated 1st car arrival of 11:30 AM. After reaching their destination, the cars will go undergo maintenance. Pilots and co-pilots will camp, eat and plan out the following day of the race.
With a strong start, favorites at this year’s rally include Marc Coma, the 2005, 2006 and 2007 winner on his KTM690 bike and Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez (Aprilla 450)–both winners of World Champion races in 2010. Egyptian car teams include al-Gouna Rally Raid, Ecurie Egypt, KIA Team, Desert Pharaohs Racing Team, Rahhala Racing, Rally Raid Egypt, and three vehicles without team names. Egyptian teams on bikes and quads include riders for Logic and KTM Egypt Calling Dakar.
Those interested in following their teams can access the GPS tracker located on the official Pharaons' Rally website.