- The KH-7 rider has finished all the editions of the toughest race in the world in which she has participated, including this year's 2023, which she has had to overcome a multitude of adversities.
- Together with her co-driver Maurizio Gerini, the rider from Corbera de Llobregat has shown she has the pace to be among the top 15, although problems have conditioned the final result.
- "It means a lot to me to have finished 13 out of 13, which is something incredible and has cost us a lot. I'm left with a bittersweet taste, because finishing the Dakar is great, but we know that we could have been quite far ahead this year."
- "I have seen that I have taken an important step forward and that we could have done well, but the mechanics sometimes in motorsport play tricks and this 13 I begin to think that it does give bad luck."
Another Dakar completed for Laia Sanz, and that's 13 in a row! The KH-7 rider continues to break statistics and extend her legend with one more finish to her list of achievements. The rider from Corbera de Llobregat remains the only Spanish rider who has managed to finish 11 consecutive participations on a motorcycle, plus two in cars, with 100% reliability, something that very few in the world can boast.
Laia Sanz crossed the finish line in Dammam, on the shores of the Persian Gulf, 15 days after setting off from the opposite end of Saudi Arabia, on the shores of the Red Sea. In these two weeks, he has covered a total of 8,894 kilometers, 4,317 of them timed and spread over 14 stages, plus a prologue. With 64 hours, 21 minutes and 54 seconds accumulated during the crossing and a thousand and one vicissitudes, the Catalan finished 65th overall, 32nd in T1 cars and 14th in the classification of 4x2 traction prototypes.
The result is not what was expected for the best female motorcycle rider in the entire history of the Dakar - 9th absolute in 2015 - who was now aspiring to enter the Top 15 in the car category in her second participation on four wheels, but mechanical setbacks conditioned her chances very early on.
"It means a lot to me to have finished 13th out of 13, which is something incredible and it cost us a lot. I would like to thank the mechanics for their work every day and every night. I would also like to thank my co-driver Maurizio Gerini, who did a great job. It's true that I have a bittersweet taste, because finishing the Dakar is great, but we know that we could have been far ahead this year", confesses Laia Sanz
The problems for her and her co-driver Maurizio Gerini started in the second stage, when the studs of a wheel broke and they lost several hours until they could repair and continue. That was the first major setback they suffered, just on the day when they had scored several partial results at the gates of the Top 10 of the stage, thanks to a pace that foreshadowed a great result for them. But the most critical moment would come three days later, on stage five, when, at 140 km/h on a flat straight, they suffered a spectacular rollover - "inexplicable", they said - with five somersaults, which almost cost them the abandonment. Fortunately, the structure of the vehicle was not affected and, with the help of the fourth car in the race of the ASTARA team and the T5 race assistance truck, they were able to repair and move on.
From then on, Laia Sanz set two goals: to finish the toughest race in the world for the 13th time and to achieve good stage results. The first of these she achieved today. The second was halfway, given that she showed she had the pace to be between 10th and 15th place, but various mechanical problems hampered her chances. In the end, after several results in the top 25, he managed an 18th place in the ninth stage, his best classification in the two years he has competed in cars.
The KH-7 rider closed the Dakar 2023 this Sunday, January 15, with a 36th place finish on the 14th and last special stage of the rally, 13 minutes behind the leader. "Today I thought we would have a good time, but we had power problems and we took it easy to get to the finish, and that's the most important thing," he acknowledged.
Despite the difficulties, Sanz has shown a great evolution compared to the previous edition, which marked his debut on four wheels: "For the pace we had I saw that I have made an important step forward and that we could have done well, but sometimes in motorsport the mechanics play tricks and this 13 I start to think that it does give bad luck. We haven't had a single clean day where something didn't happen, and that's a bit frustrating, but we have learned a lot of things from the difficult situations of this Dakar. We know that we can be very competitive in the next edition", she predicts.
Automatic translation from the original Spanish version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Source Laia Sanz / KH-7 official press release