For every 4×4 vehicle made, there is always someone who dreams up an idea to test the vehicle to its limits, be it an obstacle course to a rally raid. The humble Fiat Panda (or“Marbella”) is no different.
Held annually in March, the Panda Raid is a gathering of over 100 amateur raid drivers, who against the laws of common sense, head from Madrid in central Spain to Marrakech, an adventurous route of 3000km to include deserts, mountains and vast open plains.
The 8th edition starts on 5th March 2016 running until the 12th. This year over 200 teams have currently registered, with popularity for the event growing year on year. The mini 4×4 raid although a competitive race is a personal experience adventure, sitting only centimetres away from a person for days on end through some of the worst driving terrain available. If nothing else its character building.
The 2016 route will cross Morocco from north to south and from east to west, with the imperial city of Marrakech as the final point of the route. The goal is to live and drive as one, a pure and simple raid adventure, as was the first Paris-Dakar. This means no GPS or mobile device, only with the help from a compass and a map can you navigate, something that certainly makes it more appealing.
The amateur Rally Raid allows lesser experienced drivers gain their confidence as the race advances with the tougher stages finishing in the south of Morroco. The 2016 event involves 7 stages of stunning natural off road environments, from dirt tracks, mountains and barren planes to 360˚ desert, all thought up by the organisers to test man and machines capabilities to the limit. Scoring is calculated for your team by points, awarded for navigation to marked control positions and over timed speed sections. However, many teams tend to ignore the points system altogether and simply enjoy the adventure with a group of like minded crazies who’s sole objective is to finish and have fun on the way. It does sound fantastic !!
The organisers also ask that each car carries 20kg of school materials, such as pencils, notepads, backpacks, calculators, sports equipment, old laptops, computers, etc. The educational materials will be donated to a local school during stage 3 of the rally. So the feel good factor enters the journey too, giving a little back to the country that you are enjoying.
The Panda Raid is a serious tour that is backed up by a great team of safety professionals with many years experience in these type of events. They are found literally tucked behind sand dunes for if ever you need them. With checkpoints at every 25km, the event is marshalled very well with your safety at the forefront of the organisational team.
If you want to know more or thinking of registering for the race click here
Check out the video from last year at the bottom of the page …
Images from previous years;
Video from last years event ;
Image credits; Pandaraid.com