- The Spaniard and her Italian co-driver, Maurizio Gerini, followed a conservative approach to get their ASTARA 01 to the bivouac in one piece, aware that they would not be able to count on assistance.
- In a sea of very soft sand dunes, KH-7's lost an hour trying to restart the rally after getting snagged three times.
- "Today was a very hard day, so we are very happy to have finished. We set out with the idea of arriving, which was the goal."
Laia Sanz has overcome the biggest hurdle of this second week in the Dakar Rally: the marathon stage. In fact, she has completed the first section, which took place this Thursday in the middle of the Empty Quarter desert in Saudi Arabia, but she still has another acid test: the second part, which promises to be as or more complicated than today. The 275 kilometers of the special were very demanding and put the KH-7 rider in trouble, who had to draw on her Dakar experience to reach the finish line in one piece, one hour and ten minutes after the first rider.
She had warned the day before: "We'll take it very easy". Said and done. The Spaniard has not been 12 times finisher of the Dakar Rally by chance, but because she knows how to measure her strength, calibrate the resistance of the mechanics and interpret like few others the difficulties and risks of the route. This is how she tackled the 11th stage, aware that tonight only she and co-driver Maurizio Gerini will be able to repair her ASTARA 01, as assistance is forbidden in the marathon.
For this reason, she wanted to be very conservative and avoid overtaxing the car. But the difficulties of the day were not limited to safeguarding the mechanics, but a sea of very tricky dunes came into play to make things difficult for the Spanish-Italian duo. Sanz and Gerini got stuck in the sand three times, losing an hour of time between the three of them.
The first snag was just before kilometer 89, where they stopped for a quarter of an hour; then they got stuck in the sand again at kilometer 189, which cost them another 20 minutes; and finally, around kilometer 215 they had to spend half an hour more to get going again.
This is how the Catalan driver summarizes the day: "Today has been a very hard day, so we are very happy to have finished. We went out with the idea of arriving, which was the goal, since it was the marathon stage and we could not gamble. We didn't push hard at all, but we got stuck three or four times. The sand was very soft and only with rear-wheel drive is more complicated. Even so, we can be happy after finding many people overturned or with problems".
Tomorrow, Friday, Sanz and Gerini will face the second part of the marathon, with a total distance of 373 kilometers and a timed section of 185 kilometers that, once again, will have complicated passes through the dunes.
Automatic translation from the original Spanish version
Source Laia Sanz / KH-7