Courtesy of Sharon Cox
Dakar Rally 2020 Women Competitors Media coverage brought to you by:
Dakar Rally Stage 11 is done, with all 9 Women competitors leaving Shubaytah to Haradh covering 744 kms of which 379 kms was timed.
Not all went to plan. Laia dialled back throttle due to concern for not enough fuel in tank, Mirjam Pol spent time helping fellow Dutch competitor before he was air-lifted by helpicopter to hospital and Taye Perry had plenty of good karma watching over her, with driver and co-driver helping Taye to finish- albeit with broken bike.
With everything on the line to complete tomorrow’s Final Stage 12, all 9 have succeeded against odds- which stands at 84 withdrawals to end of Stage 11. Not only that, pressure sustained to finish each Stage- which is more due to fact that each rider holds highest expectations to finish than anyone else- resides on 2 moments in history waiting to be celebrated.
Laia Sanz will be completing her 10th consecutive Dakar Rally- a feat not achieved by any Woman rider before nor of Spainish Nationality.
Sara Garcia will be completing her first Dakar Rally ‘Unassisted’ in ‘Original by Motul’ category, never been achieved before by any female rider in the history of Dakar.
Awaiting final Stage results, all Women cast their thoughts on penultimate leg of Dakar, hopeful with anticipation that Stage 12 will deliver victory for all Women competitors.
Laia: ‘I was doing well today, but I was a little worried that I was running low on fuel, so I eased off a little before the fuel stop. After refuelling I hit a hole that I didn’t see – I hit it really hard with the front wheel and hit my chest on the bike’.
Mirjam spent time helping fellow Dutch competitor before medics arrived, leaving Mirjam shaken by dire circumstances of rider, then managed to complete Stage for Overall 41st place. Taye Perry experienced her fair share of ‘how-do-I make-it-to-finish’ with bike that did not want to go- when welcomed relief came in the hands of Spainish driver Pablo Canto Martinez and Argentina’s co-driver Facundo Jaton who proceded to help Taye to the finish of Stage 11.
Sara Garcia didn’t notice much difference in race-mode over Marathon Stages of past 2 days, saying she has been ‘Unassisted’ the entire Dakar. What does stand out is Sara’s will to survive, to mark history as first woman to complete ‘Original by Motul’ category- lit like ‘fire in belly’ to final finish tomorrow.
Sara: ‘At the beginning it has been 300 kms of peaks and dunes that were hard at first because of the wet sand but I ended up enjoying it to the fullest👍 At the end they were 44km on course, fast and agile although somewhat dangerous… But tomorrow is the day we will fulfill this dream in the Dakar Rally 2020′.
Kirsten Landman remains steadfast to complete the rookie’s first Dakar standing Overall 54th place, conserving all energy, think-time and focus to complete past 2 years objective of racing the ultimate of World Rallies.
Car category driver Cristina Gutierrez and co-driver Pablo Moreno are formidable pair, navigating sand dune heights which caught few too many cars out, bottoming out at top or rather taking roll over other side.
Cristina: ‘It has been a hard stage with practically all sand and many dunes. Many pilots have gotten stuck and have wasted time trying to get out although we have coped well. We see the end of the rally and I am very happy to be here; we have one last stage so maximum concentration’.
Peruvian pair Fernanda Kanno and co-driver Alonso Carillo count all blessings to stay-in-it-to-win-it finishing Stage 11 Overall in 56th place, earning right to fly National flag when crossing final Stage 12 finish line tomorrow.
SSV driver Camelia Liparoti and co-driver Annett Fischer make up for misfortunes with vehicle in Stage 6 finishing 26th within 6 hours-19 minutes- 27 seconds.
Dakar Rally Stage 12: Haradh to Qiddiya 429 kms with 167 kms timed. Header Photo: Laia Sanz credit: A.S.O.