Renault 4 teams competing in the 21st Aicha des Gazelles Rally

The 21st Aïcha des Gazelles Rally, a 100% women’s race in which compasses and maps play a vital role, begins on March 22 in the Moroccan desert.

For the first time, four teams from the Women @ Renault network are competing in the competition with their Dacia Duster, aiming for another podium finish after Isabelle Charles’ victory in 2010.

Four Women @ Renault teams with a single desire: to surpass their limits

Convinced that diversity boosts company performance, Renault decided to strengthen the place of women at the Group by launching the Women @ Renault plan and a corresponding community network in March 2010.  

Applicants for the 2011 Aïcha des Gazelles Rally were all identified among the members of the Women @ Renault network. The network, involved in the rally for the very first time, received more than 50 applications. 

To select four teams, Renault put the applicants in real-life situations during a weekend event including sporting and technical tests and motivation interviews with juries, amid rudimentary conditions designed to give applicants a taste of the race to come.  

Starting February, the four two-person teams selected took part in a two-day training course to familiarize themselves with sand driving, testing their ability to resist and adapt and Dacia Duster’s abilities in real rally conditions.   

The eight participants, from France, Belgium and Morocco, reflect diverse backgrounds and professions, principally in engineering and sales. During the selection process, they also showed that their commitment to this difficult race was based on key Renault values upheld by the Women @ renault plan: a real spirit of solidarity and considerable tenacity. 

Claire Martin, Corporate Social Responsibility VP

“Women @ Renault’s involvement in this adventure gives eight of our representatives the chance to experience in a real-life context the values of surpassing one’s limits and team spirit that we seek to encourage at the company. I am convinced that all the other members of the network will follow the race closely and bring the contestants all their support.”

Women @ Renault: a 360° approach to support women

The Women @ Renault plan works at three levels, upgrading HR processes, rallying female talents and shifting representations. Practically speaking, the plan sets quantified recruitment objectives for the company, namely 30% women in engineer positions and 50% in sales functions. It ensures that for each managerial post to be filled, at least one woman is included on the list of applicants. It also seeks to enhance the balance between personal and professional life throughout a woman’s career.

To rally employees around the plan, the Corporate Social Responsibility department coordinates the community network via a Web 2.0 platform, Women @ Renault. This platform has become the company’s largest informal network with more than 1,000 members, of which some 100 men.

Isabelle Charles, winner of the 2010 race, Crossover category, and competitor in the 2011 event

“Racing again in the 21st event is an amazing opportunity, but sharing it with seven team members from Women @ Renault is a whole new dimension, one that I am delighted with. The race fires the imagination but I know from experience that it is also an extremely difficult moment. I will do all I can to place my experience at the service of my colleagues so that they can compete in the best possible conditions.”

Dacia Duster

The eight contestants from Women @ Renault along with the 12 contestants from the La Poste group will race the 2,500 km of the rally in Dacia Dusters. 

The Dacia Duster SUV, the sixth vehicle in the Dacia range launched in April 2010, is scoring strong success in all launch countries. Available as a 4x4 or 4x2, it boasts unrivalled interior space for money, authentic off-road abilities and controlled CO2 emissions for the diesel models.

Dacia Duster's success has earned it numerous industry awards, including "Family Car of the Year" honours in France (L'Argus), the "Autobest 2011" prize in Eastern Europe and the "Car of the Year" trophy in Romania.