“It was quite horrible, luckily I had never experienced a situation like this”


Joan Barreda (8th at 7:21): “There are various readings. The first in terms of classification the objective has been achieved. We came to the Dakar with a lack of kilometers and races, we knew that the first days there would be many stages with stones and so on, and the objective was to stay in the front group for the first week. That has been fulfilled but it has been a bit difficult, because how the road has been… It has been more rugged than I would have liked. We have had several problems that despite that we maintain the classification. The hit of the finger, above all, limited me a few moments from attacking a little more, in the fall with Toby (Price) a few minutes also went by but the reading is good, it could have all ended there”.

Lorenzo Santolino (12th at 30:22): “The week has not been particularly long for me, in the end you go day by day. The body adapts to the conditions, but you are assuming it well. I have not fallen, it is true that I try to avoid falls like everyone else. I’ve had a couple of scares, I ate a cut dune and got pretty scared, but in general now that I haven’t had any scares or saves except for yesterday (for Sunday) that could have hurt me, in general I try to keep a rhythm in which I feel comfortable. I am in a rhythm that is not that of winning, but it is constant. It’s not for winning, but for a decent result, yes”.


Carlos Checa (21st at 5:40:04): “We have had many problems, but we have solved them in the best way. We have done them quickly and I am very proud. We have had problems, but the serious penalty was on the sixth day when everything in the car broke down. The oil pressure dropped, the radiator broke and we had to disassemble half the car, we arrived here with a hot car. It was very rushed that day. We have done almost a preseason, because we arrived here and we had kilometers to go. In that lack of kilometres, things are coming out and they have come out, but now the car works”.

Isidre Esteve (26th at 6: 2:18): “We knew that the 2023 Dakar was the most difficult of those in Arabia. We had planned a difficult first week, but for example I thought there would be more navigation and not so hard. For me there have been two stages, the second day and the other the last loop in Ha’il. I admit that I ended up very tired, asking Chema for the end of the special with how many kilometers were left to go. It hadn’t happened to me before, we came from a few years in which we stopped for 15 minutes and those 15 minutes were like two stages. Now the issue of rest is something that we notice a lot, but I appreciate it. This must be the Dakar, a planned endurance race, trying to manage everything as well as possible. We’ve had little problems like everyone else, but we’re in the top 30. We would all like to be better, but a difficult second week of the race is coming”.

Laia Sanz, with the Astara.


Laia Sanz, with the Astara.
Gerard LaurenssenEFE

Laia Sanz (39th at 4:00 p.m.: 7:31 p.m.): “I don’t know if I could summarize everything that has happened. It has been an intense week. I have to say that the result is obviously bad, but we have a bittersweet taste. On the one hand, everything has happened to us and it has been terrible and we have not had a clean stage, but on the other hand we have had a very, very good pace, better than expected. We have been competitive, one day we were eighth, others 15th… and something has always just happened to us that has prevented us from having a good stage. But we’re happy, the ‘what if’ on the Dakar isn’t worth it either and I know it, but I know that by pace we could be quite ahead. The Dakar has not always gone well for me, but I want to finish and end with a good taste in my mouth. I’m liking it a lot (at the level of demand) and I think the Dakar had to be like that. It is what I asked for in recent years. “.

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Carlos Sainz (44th at 8:00 p.m.: 4:59 p.m.): The team prepares all year to come here to fight [por la victoria]. It’s hard, but you have to accept it that way, you have to take the positive part, be optimistic, and now we have to keep pushing this week, especially to learn for the future. The silver lining is hard to find [risas]after the scare that both pilots and co-pilots gave us, poor Edouard [Boulanger] got the worst of it, but Lucas [Cruz] and I will continue, although Stéphane [Peterhansel] I had a headache, but it’s okay. Let’s hope Edouard pulls through, I think he had surgery today, and I hope everything goes great for him, I’ll take that positive part, that everything could have gone worse.


Cristina Gutiérrez (5th at 2:53:37): “It started very well and we knew that the Dakar was not easy, but something different happened every day. When the river thing happened I couldn’t believe it, the next day we also had a problem doing the refueling… It was quite intense but when the mechanic thing happened there was a turning point. We had to push forward and do our part. In the river it was quite horrible, luckily I had never experienced a situation like this. When we arrived there was a little bit of water, but the bottom was sandy and we stayed there. At the time I looked out the window, I suddenly felt a lot of water. I told Pablo to close the car door and it was locked. A flood came and luckily the trucks stopped because they saw it very badly. What scared me most of all was that the car would overturn and see how we got out of there. It was quite a tense moment. It is one of the most surreal situations, but this exceeds expectations because I did not expect a flood in Saudi Arabia to catch me. But yes, also in the desert there are floods. It is being a Dakar that is not leaving anyone indifferent. David (Castera) has set out to do one of the toughest Dakars in history and he is achieving it”.


Gerard Farrés (4th at 6:19): “The week has gone well, especially because we are here, because we have options. Sometimes you get to the first week and say ‘there are no options at all’. But we arrived alive, close to the first, with options for everything and this is perfect to prepare the second. We will see how it goes, they will be important days and it will be a week where you have to take risks. The first is not so decisive but now it is, you have to get everything out. I didn’t think it was that hard, it’s been really difficult, but every time we feel better”.

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