After eleven editions completed in the Dakar rally on a motorcycle, the Spanish Laia Sanz decided to face a new stage in his sports campaign. The 44th edition of the mythical test, which will take place from January 1-14 en Saudi Arabia, will debut in the cars category with a MINI All4Racing of Primax X-Raid Team.
“I like challenges and this is a motivation that I really needed. It is a dream to race the Dakar with a competitive car. The something that I longed for for many years and will finally come true ”, Laia explained to autoworld during a virtual event organized by Primax, one of its sponsors.
“On motorcycles I achieved results that I did not imagine when I first entered the race. If someone told me when I started in this that I was going to do a Top 10, that I was going to finish each of the races or that I was going to compete for official teams, I would not have believed them ”, admitted the now ex-motorcyclist, who was 9 ° in 2015 and that she was always the best female representative located in the classifier.
“I feel fulfilled with everything I achieved and that is why I decided to finish the stage on motorcycles. I am super proud of everything I have achieved ”, the multiple world trial and enduro champion insisted.
CARLOS SAINZ, A GREAT ADVISOR
Laia also confessed that the decision to run in the demanding competition on four wheels was encouraged by her compatriot Carlos Sainz, three times winner of the Dakar after his successful passage through the WRC (He won the 1990 and 1992 titles). They are both teammates Activate Sainz XE of Extreme E, something that allowed Sanz to strengthen his relationship with the veteran pilot.
“With Carlos I am learning a lot of things. It is good to start this path with him. I'm trying to be a sponge to learn a lot from him… Carlos was the one who helped me make the decision to race the Dakar in cars. He encouraged me to take this step because I was more of the idea of doing something in-between and running Side by Side first ”, The 35-year-old pilot confessed.
“It was a pleasure to be in Argentina, then Bolivia, Chile, Peru… There were never two equal stages, it was much more varied. Being in South America was a pleasure… but what I miss the most is the warmth of the people ”.
AN EXAMPLE FOR WOMEN
Beyond the enthusiasm of this new stage, Laia does not hide her pride in the legacy she left with her participation in motorcycles, mainly for women. “I am more proud of that than of the championships won. Seeing that there are so many young girls in trial and enduro now makes me feel happy because I was a bit of a pioneer in that. See how they do it well, improve and now they have it a little easier than me, because being the first one it was more difficult for me, I am very excited ", He explained.
Although she considered that for a matter of physical appearance it is very unlikely that a woman will win the Dakar on motorcycles, she thinks that in cars the possibilities are even, as the German has already shown Jutta kleinschmidt in 2001.
“On motorcycles that is very difficult because, like it or not, there is a physical difference that is real. A well-prepared woman, as I demonstrated, can do very well, but from there to win I see it unlikely. In cars that physical difference does not exist. If Jutta has already done it, I think it's possible. Although it is true that it is difficult to have the opportunities to do kilometers and race with a Top car because right now there is a lot of difference between the top vehicles and the rest ", analyzed the Iberian, which will share the cabin of the MINI of the Primax X-Raid Team with the Maurizio gerini.
In that sense, he assured that he would like to accumulate many kilometers of tests and have the best mechanical means in the specialty "To know how far my level can go without being limited by the car or the tests."