It will be organized from August 15 to 21, 2022, the first edition of the event called “Grand Tour de Lomé” under the theme: ” Resilience of countries and communities in the face of COVID 19 “. This is a major tourist, cultural and sporting celebration, which will bring together the ECOWAS countries and the Togolese in the diaspora. This sub-regional event has several phases, including the Togo tourist raid rally. The Commissioner of the Grand Tour de Lomé Rally, Mr Mathieu Aquereburu, several times a participant in the Dakar Rally, goes into detail about the organization of this event, while giving advice and recommendations to all those who would like to participate in this 1re edition of the Togo rally.
TOGO PRESSE: What is the tourist raid rally?
Mathieu Aquereburu : It is logically a national rally, supposed to lead to the Far North and make the loop in the Savannah Region. But for this first edition, the selected route will stop in the prefecture of Kozah in the Kara region. The idea being to bring all the participants back to Lomé in less than 36 hours.
TP: Who can take part in this rally?
Mathieu Aquereburu : Anyone can participate in this Rally. But you can only register as a duo; either in men’s doubles, women’s doubles or mixed doubles, as a couple for example. It should be noted that we encourage women to register. Indeed, on the occasion of these holidays, men must be able to offer this adventure to ladies and children with a driving license. Technical assistance being framed, it will be an opportunity for these ladies to learn how to disassemble and reassemble the car wheel on their own.
TP: What category of car can participate and how to do it?
M A : You can participate with any type or category of vehicle. In reality, for this first edition, this rally remains just an endurance trip across the country and in no way to be perceived as a performance race. And so, everyone can participate with their car. This is why we are expecting a few hundred participants. Of course, given the course, we intend to give practical advice to participants and introduce them to driving methods in the open countryside. Indeed, the course will favor exotic places and therefore rural tracks. But, no worries if you have an old car. Ditto for motorcycles or quads. As long as they are tough enough to travel, you can sign up for this little adventure. In reality, participating in the Rallye raid du Togo, especially in this first edition, will remain more an initiation to the tourist adventure than a sporting competition.
T P : After pre-registration, what must be done to be in good standing?
M A : To complete the registration for the rally, all crews must provide the following documents: the identity documents of the crew, the license of the main driver and of the teammate, if the latter is to be considered as a co-driver and the documents of the vehicle, in particular the technical visit and the insurance.
Before the start of the competition, we have planned two discussion sessions with the future participants. A video-conference exchange session is therefore planned for advice and recommendations to candidates and a second face-to-face session the day before at the planned starting point, vehicles present. It is during this second session that the technical verification of the cars will be carried out and the participants will be provided with documents and media such as: the homologation papers, the vehicle identification number, the Road Book, the Advice guide and recommendations, as well as the scoring checkbook.
TP: Explain to us the course of the Rally
M A : For this rally, the route will be divided into several stages. On the basis of the duration determined during the recognition of the route, to cover each stage, an average reference time will be indexed. Candidates must, in order not to lose points, arrange not to arrive, neither too early nor too late, in relation to this average reference time. So, we can imagine that from Lomé to Sarakawa where we have planned the loop, the route is divided into three or four stages. At each stage, the Rally Commissioner and his deputies will record on their sheets and in the participants’ score control notebooks, the stage arrival time. This should make it possible to determine the average duration of the crossing of the stage by each candidate. All in all, we are considering between six and eight stages to complete the Lomé – Sarakawa – Lomé loop.
TP: Any details on the dates and places of departure?
M A : The departure is scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2022 at 7:30 a.m., probably in Avédji between the monument of the two lions and the crossroads called Limousine.
The arrival is scheduled at Face IB Banque (Former BTCI), the next day, Friday, around 7 p.m.
TP: Do you have any recommendations for those who would like to participate?
M A : I would suggest that the participants, at least those who don’t have too many means and who would like to participate in the Rally, to find “sponsors”. The sponsor can be a relative, friend, husband or other. Companies can also offer this tourist trip to their employees. It must be said that the cost of participation is 50,000 CFA Francs for vehicles over 20 years old and 100,000 CFA Francs for vehicles less than 20 years old. What an original gift to see a relative, a friend or a company offer this gift which consists of allowing someone to have this unique experience of discovering this beautiful country in this summer of 2022!
To thank or support your sponsors (parents, friends, bosses or colleagues…) the only limit remains your imagination. The logo of your company on the car, a message of support to your sponsor and photo-video reports of the course, sent to them will please them. If you have the chance to participate, do not hesitate after each stage to communicate on your results and performances and send them to your current sponsor as a thank you.
TP: Do you have any other information to give to future participants of the Togo Rally?
M A : Yes, I will speak to potential corporate sponsors. Indeed, I will soon lead a reconnaissance mission of the route of the Rallye raid du Togo 1re editing. Potential sponsors will be able to join the reconnaissance team that I will lead inside the country, notably as far as Sarakawa. This mission is supposed to clearly identify the course, the points of stages, the successive points of orientation of the course accompanied by the kilometric markers to allow the development of the Road Book of the participants. The potential godfathers and sponsors will therefore be able to accompany the technical reconnaissance team in order to co-specify the mentions to be included on the information panels which will be erected all along the course which will be selected. Also, towns that would like the rally to pass through their prefecture can send us proposals for sites or programs that we will be happy to study during our reconnaissance mission.
TP: Your final word?
M A : The Togo Rallyre edition will criss-cross our most remote regions and will help to recreate a strong link between rural populations, often isolated from everything, and those city dwellers who will make the journey. We hope that this will allow the rural communes crossed to be in the spotlight, in addition to arousing animation and enthusiasm in these communities which very often complain of being neglected, even forgotten by major events and country news.
El Hadj Moussouloumi BOUKARI