Mercedes-Benz Vans: Victorious stars at Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles 2016

Mercedes-Benz Vans: Victorious stars at Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles 2016
April 2016

Stuttgart/Essaouira – 2500 kilometres through Morocco: about two weeks ago four teams from Mercedes-Benz Vans started at the women's Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in Erfoud. Now the teams crossed the finishing line in their all-wheel-drive vans. In the port city of Essaouira they celebrated their leading positions in the "Crossover" category – as can be watched here:

Mercedes-Benz Vans teams victorious

The winners in the "Crossover" category are: Viola Hermann and Vanessa Wagner. The 45-year-old goldsmith from Stuttgart and the 38-year-old master plumber/heating installer from Hattersheim outperformed the competing teams. It was not speed that counted, but completing the rally with as few kilometres as possible on the clock – only using a map and compass for navigation. The victory ceremony was held on 2 April. There was no prize money; the proceeds from the rally were donated to charity.

The other placings in the "Crossover" category are as follows:

  • Position 3 for Bianca Manz (31-year-old, engineer, from Esslingen)
    and Alexandra Jansen (29-year-old, engineer, from Cologne).

  • Position 4 for Dr Eva Holzhäuser (31-year-old, graduated radio-oncologist, from Bad Kreuznach) and Nicole Marquardt
    (32-year-old, sales expert, from Böblingen).

  • Position 6 for Madeleine Oster (27-year-old, master carpenter/roofer, from Bernkastel-Kues) and Catrin Peest (50-year-old, master joiner, from Heidelberg).

Mercedes-Benz vans with plenty of traction in the Moroccan desert

The teams from Mercedes-Benz Vans were at the wheel of standard-production vans that had undergone only minor modifications: Hermann/Wagner and Holzhäuser/Marquardt in a Vito 119 BlueTEC 4x4, Manz/Jansen and Oster/Peest in a Sprinter 316 BlueTEC 4x4. The vans – all featuring 4x4 all-wheel drive – fared superbly in the extreme conditions on the mostly loose surfaces along the route and demonstrated excellent traction.

Vehicle data at a glance:


Vito 119 BlueTEC 4x4



Sprinter 316 BlueTEC 4x4




4x4 all-wheel drive

4x4 all-wheel drive


OM 651

OM 651


2143 cc

2143 cc

No. of cylinders

4 in-line

4 in-line


140 kW/190 hp

120 kW/163 hp

Max. torque

440 Nm at 3800 rpm

360 Nm at 1400 – 2400 rpm

Eighth participation, fifth victory for Mercedes-Benz Vans

This year Mercedes-Benz Vans competed for the eighth time in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, celebrating its fifth victory in the "Crossover" category. In 2009, Mercedes-Benz Vans recorded its first triumph with a Viano 4MATIC. The second victory, in 2011, was with a Vito 4x4. In 2014 and 2015, the triumphant drivers crossed the finishing line in a Sprinter 4x4.

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