From the first moment she denied being superstitious, but Laia Sanz (Barcelona, 37 years old), began to believe in the bad luck of 12+1 during a “frustrating” participation where they did not have “clean days”. The Catalan was facing her second participation in the Dakar on four wheels, she opted for the Astara Century to take another step at a competitive level, but she had everything during a race weighed down by mechanical problems and “bad luck”. “A lot has happened” Laia acknowledged during her visit to AS, and despite the fact that she came to consider that this was the first Dakar in which she did not see the finish line, she overcame all the setbacks to save one of those years in which “you learn a lot”. And they also leave good references: “I also lived a year like this on a motorcycle and the next one was very good, so I hope it repeats itself. It was also in 2013″.
What will he bring? next year is still up in the air, but at least Laia has seen “that I can be competitive, more than I expected, And I want to find a way to be there. I don’t know what the formula is, but I want to try it.” Perhaps that formula goes through a T1+ that also has another procedure until it can be reached: “I have to start robbing a bank and then everything is possible.” The Catalan joked about a prototype that was difficult to achieve “because it takes a lot of money.” and although nothing is impossible, the image that will never be seen again is that of Sanz on the handlebars of a motorcycle in the Dakar: “I will not return with a motorcycle.”
That does not mean that the Catalan does not miss certain things like “the dunes in the Empty Quarter”, especially in an edition that recovered the unknown, but that’s as far as it goes. Despite the fact that “with a rear-wheel drive buggy in the Empty Quarter you don’t have a good time” the bikes will not come back as well “a 13 that has not been able to with me that is the important thing ”. It has not been the most “dodgy” edition, but it was the most “frustrating, it has cost more than some others, but we are happy”, analyzes Sanz, about a Dakar where he was the protagonist for his epic after a rollover in the fifth stage that it occurred “at 147 km/h”. She still doesn’t know what happened, “it still bothers me”, but not even that nor the “impotence of every day”, they have taken away the desire to return to a desert where after the accident, he fought until the end to achieve his goal: “I wanted to be a finisher.”
ten minutes were to blame that he is now closer to 20 consecutive participations as finisher of Yoshimasa Sugawara in trucks (1989-2009) and if he applies all the lessons that the desert has given him, although he thinks that “statistically one year cannot finish”, he is on the way to continue making history in a competition where he sees himself surpassing the top -twenty. She did it for the first time in the ninth stage (where she was 18th) and although she couldn’t finish it in the general classification, she had “the scam, which is the important thing”. Laia found herself with “more rhythm than expected”, a fundamental support in “Geri (Maurizio Gerini)”, and part of a team that suffered for”do your best and carry out an ugly Dakar for everyone”, that not only had negative moments.
the positive part
“The course for me has been a 10 this year. It has been very long for me but not because of the route”, commented a Laia Sanz with a laugh that “just as in the past I criticized certain things, this one I congratulate Castera (race director) and the organization because It has been a real Dakar. A Dakarse has to be long and it can’t be that it ends easily and you say, that’s it? The Catalan spoke of “stages that were more tiresome than other years” in which everyone had “more problems”… except for Al Attiyah who she would like to see in trouble: “I want to see a Nasser who has to run the entire Dakar, because then there are mistakes and things happen”.
The Qatari put everything on his face to focus his fifth Touareg already in the first week and went for a walk in the absence of a Carlos Sainz who failed, but before he was Laia’s teacher: “With Carlos I learned a lot (in Extreme E). I was surprised by the patience you have had, the desire for her to learn and help her” on a path, where now she wants more. The electrical contest will continue to be its preparation base for 2024 and although the ideal would be to “train all year with the car you are going to take on the Dakar”, for now it will be time to enjoy a new finished edition that, despite everything, leaves a good taste in the mouth. When you see everything lost “Just to finish, you’re already happy.”