- After the feat of finishing after the heavy accident she had, the team's mechanics worked all night to get the car ready for the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally.
- Co-driven by Maurizio Gerini, the KH-7 driver overcame the handicap of starting the day 148th in the starting order to finish in 40th place.
- "We started so far back that we found the dunes full of traces. That crushed us a bit, but we're happy because tomorrow we'll be able to start in the top 40."
- "All the team mechanics worked until this morning without any sleep at all. I can't thank them enough for their efforts".
Starting a stage of the Dakar Rally after doing five laps the day before is not only almost like a miraculous Christmas present, but also a question of faith. Faith that the car will have been repaired properly during the night and will not fail on the special stage. And that is precisely what has happened thanks to the spectacular work carried out by the ASTARA team mechanics, which has allowed Laia Sanz and her co-driver Maurizio Gerini to complete the sixth day of competition without any setbacks.
In fact, the biggest difficulty encountered by the KH-7 rider was having to avoid dozens of vehicles from the 148th starting position to cross the finish line in 40th place, almost 38 minutes behind the first. The Spaniard found the terrain -mainly sand and dunes- very bumpy, wet and full of ruts, which did not prevent her from doing a good job at the wheel, but it did limit her chances of achieving a good stage classification -something absolutely predictable, given the circumstances-.
"We started so far back that we found the dunes full of traces. That was a bit of a blow for us. It didn't seem like it, because we pushed hard, but in reality we were going very slowly and we weren't making as much progress as we would have liked because the terrain was very slow. Nevertheless, we're happy because tomorrow we'll be able to start in the top 40, which is a good thing. As for the pace, we went from less to more, gaining confidence, and we did very well in the last part," said Laia Sanz.
For the Catalan, the day started with the surprise that when she woke up, all the team mechanics were still working on her ASTARA 01 until she got on it to start the stage. "Apart from the great work done yesterday by Sergio Vallejo and Mario Gonzalez in the assistance truck, last night the whole team has given their all to lend a hand. Even Carlos Checa's mechanics, when they finished making his car, they also started working on mine. They have all worked without having slept at all. I can only thank them all for their efforts", she explained.
After the sixth stage, Laia Sanz and Maurizio Gerini will start this Saturday the seventh special stage of the Dakar Rally 2023, between Riyadh and Al Duwadimi, of 861 kilometers in total, 333 of them timed, with the intention of fighting again for a place in the top 20. But they will have to be cautious with their mechanics because at the end of the day they will only be allowed a maximum of two hours of assistance, in what will be a sort of semi-marathon stage improvised by the organization due to the logistical difficulties caused by the rains.
Automatic translation from the original Spanish version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Source KH-7 / Laia Sanz