Laia Sanz – 10 Consecutive Dakar Finishes!

12 months ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Rally Zone

Seriously, how good is Laia Sanz?! The 34-year-old Spaniard is a 13-time Women’s Trial World Champion, a 10-time Women’s Trial European Champion, and five-time Women’s Enduro World Champion. And at this year’s Dakar Rally, less than two months after it was announced that she’d be riding GasGas’s all-new RC450F rally-spec machine, Sanz notched up her 10th consecutive Dakar Rally finish. She ran 18th Overall, and though it was not best Overall Dakar result (she placed ninth Overall in 2015, and inside the top 15 four times), she staked her claim as the highest placed female competitor for an astonishing 10th time. Yep, every single Dakar she’s competed in since her 2011 debut. There’s not a motorcycle racer on the planet – male or female – who can boast anywhere near that sort of combined record of World and Dakar Rally titles.
“I will remember a lot about this Dakar,” a drained Sanz said shortly after crossing the 2020 Dakar’s finish line. “Of course, I will remember Paulo [the late Paulo Goncalves], a true Dakar warrior. So I have mixed emotions. I will also remember it because it is the race that I managed to start and finish my 10th consecutive Dakar. This is something I am very proud of. I think I’m the first Spanish rider to do that. Dakar is never easy, but when you have a crash, it becomes so much harder. So, I’m pleased that I managed to overcome everything and finish the race, and also to have been the first rider to represent GasGas Motorcycles. It’s not been the best for me in terms of my Overall result – after my crash on Stage 2, I was riding in a lot of dust and the average speed was a little too high for me during the second week. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and want to thank all the GasGas Factory Racing team for their support,” Sanz went on to say, after what was clearly a mentally and physically tough two weeks of racing in Saudi Arabia.

STANDINGS: DAKAR RALLY 2020 (after stage 12)

  1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 40:02:36
  2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 40:19:02 +16:26
  3. Toby Price (KTM) 40:26:42 +24:06
    18. Laia Sanz (GasGas) 44:00:52 +3:58:16

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