Selected after a demanding selection process, they will defend the Group’s colors and the fight for gender equality. Convinced that this is an asset to the Company’s performance, the European WoMen Forward network, which promotes gender equality within the Group, launched an internal call for applications to recruit a one man-one woman team from March 15 to 20 April 2018.


In total, there were 32 applications, 8,000 registered supporters in 10 European countries and 2 days of selection with navigation and driving tests, teamwork and motivation interviews, to decide between the six best Michelin teams: one Polish, one Serb, one Spanish and three French. The criteria to decide between the participants: their technical skills, their ability to persevere in difficult circumstances, but above all their credibility as network ambassadors!


It was the orienteering race, a key skill for the Gazelles and Men Rally, that allowed the Spanish team, both employees at the Valladolid plant, to stand out. With great team spirit, when the results were announced, the losing finalist teams spontaneously declared that they would support their Spanish colleagues with the race and their preparation.


The jury consisted of representatives of the WoMen Forward network and different Michelin Diversity representatives. Thierry Charbonnier, a former Dakar Rally driver, was also part of the jury. Not forgetting Delphine Bichoffe who has 10 Gazelles rallies under her belt and is the patron of the operation. Finally, representatives of the group’s all-terrain brand also joined them. This great adventure will be flying the colors of this brand, giving tires to the team and advice that will help them cross the country from Erfoud (eastern Morocco) to Essaouira (on the Atlantic coast).


Now it’s Irene and Luis’ turn! They have a heavy task ahead, representing the WoMen Forward network facing the other teams. With a particular mention to the 3 teams on the waiting list in case of a withdrawal, because they played the game right to the end:

  • Marius Banasiak & Lidia Kurant - NoMad Poland
  • Julie Roddier & David Hermet - Mixity Forward, France
  • Raul Pimentel Castillo & Marina Beltran Perez – Globo. Spain (Vitoria / Almeria).


Luis Gaton:

"It’s amazing! We may be the ones going to Morocco, but it’s a real collective adventure. We are all motivated to make change happen in terms of gender equality and show that, when you work hard you can achieve your goal. At Valladolid, everyone is behind us. You can’t imagine the number of encouraging messages we’ve received and how many people have got involved. It’s really heartwarming."

Irene Barrigon - At Michelin for 6 years, Irene is 35 and works as a Quality Technician at the Valladolid plant in Spain in the Tourism and Small Truck workshop. She is passionate about mountains, hiking and diving.

Luis Gaton - Boiler Room Team Leader at the Valladolid factory, Luis has been working for Michelin Spain for 11 years. He’s 34 years old and is a huge motorsports fan.



The WoMen Forward network promotes gender diversity in management at Michelin. It was created at the end of 2014 on the initiative of around thirty women managers in the Group. They are convinced of the benefits of a substantial diversity in teams and management the company's attractiveness, its capacity for innovation and the understanding of its customers. WoMen Forward is an independent network that has over 300 members in Europe and provides a forum for networking and personal development to promote gender equality every day.



Directly inspired by the famous Rallye des Gazelles, the Gazelles And Men Rally is one of the few to allow men and women to compete together in a car race. No speed or stopwatch: map, compass and geographic coordinates are the only tools available to find your way and reach the markers placed on off-piste courses. The aim? Drive as few miles as possible while checking in at all the mandatory checkpoints. A good way to promote and spread the Group’s values and demonstrate the benefits of a mixed team when it comes to performance.




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