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Meet The Girls Of The 2021 Dakar Rally

Laia Sanz in 2018

Laia Sanz in 2018
Photograph: Dan Istitene (Getty Photos)

The Dakar Rally, continuously named one of the tough motorsport occasions on the earth, is mostly a person’s affair. Girls compete, however they’re few and much between. However for 2021, with the rally’s second occasion happening totally inside Saudi Arabia, it’s necessary that we take time to acknowledge all the ladies on the market kicking ass.

With so many rivals, it hasn’t been too tough to incorporate a handful of feminine drivers, but it surely’s nonetheless uncommon to see them taking high positions. Longtime racing driver Christine Beckers took on the difficult race throughout its first working in 1979. And Jutta Kleinschmidt turned the primary lady to win a stage in 1998, then the primary lady to win total in 2001.

Let’s run you thru our 9 rivals this yr.

Laia Sanz (ESP) — No. 44 Fuel Fuel Manufacturing facility Crew — Bike

Laia Sanz is clocking in her 11th Dakar participation with the hope that she continues her file of finest feminine finisher within the bike class, protecting the streak alive for each single occasion she’s participated in. A nasty crash within the 2020 occasion noticed her nursing wounds by a protracted restoration time, however she’s again this yr able to carry out. That mentioned, she’s protecting her objectives reasonable:

I’m very reasonable. A Dakar like final yr, with such a quick profile, it’s not for me. I prefer it higher when there may be navigation and when tyre administration or mechanical issues come into play... With all this, it’s clear that I gained’t arrive for the Dakar in the most effective of form. The purpose? I don’t wish to give it some thought an excessive amount of, although I at all times inform myself that I wish to be within the high 15.

Bike Mannequin: 450 Rally

Greatest Dakar Outcome: ninth total in 2016

Notable Achievements: 13-time Girls’s Trial World Champion, 10-time Girls’s Trial European Champion, five-time winner of Spain’s feminine staff in Trial des Nations, one-time winner of the Girls’s Enduro World Championship.

Sara García (ESP) — No. 98 Pont Grup Yamaha — Bike

García used the 2019 Dakar Rally as her first outing after a nasty crash that left her shaken bodily and emotionally. This yr, although, she’s taking a way more relaxed method, since she’s already proved to herself that she’s able to crossing the end line. One among her large objectives for 2021? Sleep extra.

This yr we’ve got skilled loads: we’ve got given the bike a ‘kick’. I signed up for the 2 dates of the World Bajas competitors that had been held in Portugal and I used to be capable of convey a medal for my nation. Who prepares my bike? My dad Antonio who has been a Yamaha supplier for 40 years in Zamora. Now with Javier [her boyfriend] we intend to do every stage very properly, to see if we are able to benefit from the race extra.

Bike Mannequin: Yamaha WRF450

Greatest Dakar Outcome: 86th total in 2020

Notable Achievements: Three-time Rally TT Spain Champion, 2017 ladies’s FIM World Cup holder, 2o2o FIM World Cup Girls’ runner-up

Sara Jugla (FRA)No. 102 Crew Baines Rally — Bike

Sara Jugla is setting off on her first Dakar Rally, however she’s had loads of expertise racing within the sand earlier than. In truth, you would possibly say that it’s her specialty. She’s been coaching like loopy preparing for her debut, which she understands as being necessary:

It is crucial that girls are represented in any respect ranges of the bike world. One of many keys for me might be to handle to handle the feelings, the stress, the worry… That’s what’s most exhausting. In the course of the Andalusia rally, I fell throughout follow and regardless of the questioning, I managed to have a great rally (1st lady). It exhibits that we are able to purpose with ourselves and struggle to begin once more, to provide all the pieces.

Bike Mannequin: KTM 450 Duplicate

Greatest Dakar Outcome: That is Jugla’s first Dakar Rally.

Notable Achievements: 2020 feminine champion at Rallye d’Andalousie, 2020 New Aquitaine champion, 2017 and 2019 runner-up French Sand Champion

Audrey Rossat (FRA) — No. 100 Crew RS Idea — Bike

Rossat has been racing for years, however 2021 marks her first-ever participation within the Dakar Rally. She has bodily coaching from a number of cross-country championships and from a stint with the police coaching academy in France. This yr, her solely concern is navigation.

I actually prefer to face new challenges, take a look at bikes and races that I’ve by no means finished. And after seeing so many nice movies of the Dakar, I needed to make the leap! In a approach, by continuing the enduro competitions, I’ve been coaching for the Dakar for years. The actual fact of being a girl doesn’t change something: there are simply those that have no idea the rally raid who ask me how I can take the shock.

Bike Mannequin: KTM 450

Greatest Dakar Outcome: That is Rossat’s first Dakar Rally.

Notable Achievements: 2016-2018 French cross-country champion, 2014 European endurance champion, four-time World Crew endurance champion

Suany Martínez (BOL) — No. 177 Crew Can-Am Martinez — Quad

Suany Martínez was the primary lady from Bolivia to ever compete within the Dakar Rally, however up to now, her luck has been poor. A mechanical downside knocked her out of rivalry in 2017, and a leg damage after a crash did so in 2018. Now, the cosmetologist is satisfied the third time would be the allure.

Within the final two years I couldn’t attend the Dakar and I believed that in 2021 I might not have the option to take action both because of the pandemic and the political scenario in my nation. In the beginning of November I made a decision to take part and was capable of board my Can Am Renegade virtually on the final minute. In 2019 I used to be competing within the Bolivian nationwide championships and likewise within the South American competitors.

Quad Mannequin: Can-Am Renegade 850

Greatest Dakar Outcome: Deserted rally throughout stage 7 in 2018

Notable Achievements: 2020 Nationwide Casualty Champion and South American runner-up in 4×4 quads

Cristina Gutierrez Herrero (ESP) — No. 387 Pink Bull Off-Highway Crew USA — SSV

Cristina Gutiérrez is ready to compete within the Excessive E championship alongside Sebastien Loeb in Crew X44, however she’s getting a style of the Dakar Rally earlier than she does. A former dentist, this might be her fifth consecutive outing at Dakar, the place she is as soon as once more anticipated to carry out properly.

Co-Driver: François Cazalet (FRA)

SSV Mannequin: OT3 – 01

Greatest Dakar Outcome: 38th place total in 2018, highest positioned feminine driver in 2018

Notable Achievements: Six-time Spanish Girls’s Champion, feminine winner of Sealine Cross-Nation rally in Qatar (2016), runner-up in 2015 Spanish Rally Championship

Camélia Liparoti (ITA) — No. 931 Yamaha Powered By X-Raid Crew — SSV

At this level, Camélia Liparoti is an authorized Dakar legend with over a decade of expertise beneath her belt. Together with her small stature, pigtails, and pink vehicles, she’s a tricky gal to overlook. When she’s not competing, she’s a photojournalist in France and an avid mountaineer—mainly, something to get the adrenaline pumping.

Co-Driver: Annett Fischer (DEU)

SSV Mannequin: Yamaha YXZ1000R

Greatest Dakar Outcome: Ninth within the quad class in 2012, first lady to win feminine total standings in quads in 2013

Notable Achievements: Six-time Girls’s World Rally TT Championship, first lady to win a spherical of the Rally of Pharaohs (2009).

Kristen Matlock (USA) — No. 409 Polaris RZR Manufacturing facility Racing — SSV

In Baja, she’s referred to as the Iron Lady, and Kristen Matlock is trying to take that status along with her in her first-ever Dakar Rally. She started racing along with her husband—towards whom she’s competing at Dakar—and located her ardour. Her primary purpose this yr? Beat her husband.

I’ve the driving capacity however the Dakar is sort of a completely different sport with the navigation side. I’m going to should hearken to my co-driver as a result of navigation is what wins the occasion. When it comes to the bodily side, I’m not too involved. I do what I name “iron womaning” on bajas. On the final Baja 1000, I drove from begin to end for one thing like 28 hours. On the Baja 500, I drove for 21 hours solely stopping to refuel. I’m used to that however doing it over 12 days… My essential fear is the worry of the unknown.

Co-Driver: Max Eddy Jr. (USA)

SSV Mannequin: Polaris RZR

Greatest Dakar Outcome: That is Matlock’s first Dakar Rally.

Notable Achievements: 1st within the Baja 500 and 4th within the Baja 1000 in 2020

Amy Lerner (USA) — No. 202 AL Rally — Traditional

For the primary time, the Dakar Traditional is working concurrently with the general occasion, and Amy Lerner is able to tackle the problem in what will be the most watched-for automobile throughout the occasion. Daughter of an vintage automobile collector, she’s been competing in all-female rally occasions since 2011 however has by no means been capable of make Dakar work. This yr, she’s doing it in a completely attractive Porsche.

I ought to have known as my mission “Two Weeks to Dakar”, all of it went so quick. I used to be sitting house, lockdowned in New York throughout the Covid disaster and heard in regards to the Dakar Traditional format and located it fascinating. I made a number of calls and bought all of the items collectively and off we went. I signed in for the occasion simply two weeks earlier than the tip of registration. I purchased the Porsche from Stephane Henrard in Belgium. It’s not the precise automobile of the 1984 Dakar however is a tribute to it. It was in-built 1982. I haven’t even seen it but however I do know I’ll give it an enormous hug as soon as we get to Jeddah.

Co-Driver: Sara Carmen Bossaert (BEL)

Traditional Mannequin: Porsche 911 SC 3.0L

Greatest Dakar Outcome: That is Lerner’s first Dakar Traditional Rally.

Notable Achievements: Mint 400 and Rebelle Rally competitor


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