This year there was record participation with a total of 300 teams (190 teams from Madrid and 110 teams from Almeria) starting the Panda Raid on March 4th, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar by ferry.
The next morning, they landed at 08:00 in Nador to face the first stage. This year marked the ninth edition of this raid where the unbreakable Fiat Panda, manufactured before 2003, can participate in three different categories: 4x2, 4x4 and students.
The first goal in Tissaf (after 322 kilometers of tracks) made it clear that the 2017 edition was going to be the hardest Panda Raid in history, but also the most exciting.
The teams faced up to complicated terrain through sand, rocks and dunes, with many of them falling into water and mud traps.
The fourth stage was in the deepest part of the desert and this tested the endurance of the mechanics and also of the participants, who had to combine ingenuity and team work to overcome the challenges , with only two days to the end of the race.
With the fifth, and longest stage of Panda Raid came heat and a lot of sand. Getting through the difficult terrain was worth the effort with only one more day to go.
The final stage of the Panda Raid 2017 was the most testing of all . The day began with a series of fast tracks that took the participants to the doors of the film studios of Ouarzazate, the location of hundreds of films. The second part of the day passed by the highest mountain road in Africa, the Col du Tichka, 2,260 meters high.
The winners were Jesus Miguel Varela Gonzalez and Alejandro Fraga Paradela in the 4x2 class (in addition to triumphing in the last stage), Rodrigo Viejo Viejo and Fernando Carlos López Ramos in the 4x4 class and Francisco José Benítez Martín and Franciso Javier Morales Liñán in the Student class. Finally, the prize for the best decoration was for the Panda of Roger Badia Corominas and Joaquín Barba Gutiérrez.
The Fiat Panda has again demonstrated why it is a unique vehicle and, since its launch in the 80's, has had features that make it capable of conquering the city and the desert with the same ease. Its versatility in all fields is something that has remained intact, reaffirmed by the fact that the Panda 4x4 is still the best-selling SUV in its class.
Panda Raid 2017 Calendar:
4 March - Stage 0: Madrid - Almería
5 March - Stage 1: Nador - Tissaf
6 March - Stage 2: Tissaf - Boudnib
7 March - Stage 3: Boudnib - Merzouga
8 March - Stage 4: Merzouga - Tafraoute
9 March - Stage 5: Tafraoute - Tansikht
10 March - Stage 6: Tansikht - Marrakesh
More information: www.pandaraid.com
Videos available in the Panda Raid Official Youtube Channel
* All Fiat Panda and Panda 4x4 models prior to the year 2003 are eligible for participation with no specific preparation.
Turin, 14 March 2017