Passionate about rallying!
Here, we talk to two women with a surprising pastime: Armelle Ferrieux, International Sales Director at Fermob, and Hélène Grand’Eury, drama teacher and director of a children’s choir. Together they make up Team Roses 38, a rallying team that finished an impressive 13th place in the Rallye des Pionniers, between Oujda and Fes in Morocco, on 13-19 October 2019. Is it their strong personalities, and the obvious bond between them, that makes them so successful?
Why do you think your partnership works so well?
Armelle: “We complement each other, almost to the point of being complete opposites. Hélène, the driver, is a high-energy, spur-of-the-moment kind of person. As the navigator, I’m more thoughtful and considered in my approach. There’s a real alchemy between us. We also share the same values, and we’re great friends. We spend a lot of time laughing.”
Hélène: “We’re adventurous types who love having fun and letting our hair down. For both of us, an adventure is the perfect way to switch off from everyday life.”
What has rallying taught you?
Hélène: “Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to discover who you really are!”
Armelle: “Rallying is an incredible learning experience. You learn how to make decisions as a pair, and you understand why detail is so important. As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail!”
What personal qualities do you need to be part of a rallying team?
“A strong mind”
“Having a strong mind matters more than being in good physical shape,” says Armelle (although she still runs twice a week, skis in winter and cycles in summer).
“A love of challenge”
Armelle is no stranger to targets at work. She adopts that same approach to her personal life, too. In 2012, the year she turned 40, she set her sights on taking part in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, a women-only rally in Morocco. Hélène, who won the event in 2018, sets herself a new challenge every year. Her goal for 2020? To take part in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles for the 10th time – and achieve another podium finish!
“A willingness to push yourself”
Rallying is about stepping outside your comfort zone, dealing with difficulty and pushing yourself to succeed.
“An ability to connect”
You need to develop an almost symbiotic relationship with your team-mate: one picks up the slack from the other.
“A deep understanding of yourself”
It’s no surprise that most participants are over the age of 45.
And, of course:
“Trust in your partner” and “A willingness to question yourself”
Their favourite number?
13: the position they finished in both the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles and the Rallye des Pionniers!
“It’ll all work out in the end!” For Hélène, the phrase has “mystical” properties. “We all do things that are useful and reasonable,” says Armelle. “But it’s rare that you get to live your dreams.”
The Rallye des Pionniers: the Paris-Dakar Rally in miniatur
At a glance:
A cross-country rally, in which participants have to cross the finish line within an allotted time.
7 days, 6 stages along the route of the former Paris-Dakar Rally
Classic cars in the mix: Team Roses 38 raced in the same model as Jutta Kleinschmidt drove when she became the first women to win the Paris-Dakar rally in 2001. They spent 9 hours stickering up the car under the heat of the sun! Not for the faint-hearted!
A course measuring close to 2,500 km
50 teams on the starting line: 40 cars and 10 motorcycles
A strong sense of community and mutual support among participants.
Fascinating encounters with local people (who helped Hélène and Armelle change a flat tyre and served them mint tea).
Ever-changing scenery: streams, tracks, oases and more. “Stunning!”