Dakar Rally Stage 4 completed- Women showing true strength in toughest Stage yet!

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Dakar Rally 2020 Women Competitors Media coverage brought to you by:

It was one of the toughest Stages yet for all competitors departing from Neom to Al- ‘Ula at higher altitude which meant colder temperatures before warming up and racing over terrain never seen before by any rider or driver.

With distance of 672 kms of which 453 kms was timed Women in Bike, Car and SSV category met challenges head- on, securing positions further up rankings, carving race-time to mere 20 minutes off leader as was the case for Laia Sanz, even while feeling the toll from covering over 2,300 kms in 4 days.

Laia Sanz Stage 4 Overall 25th Photo Credit: Laia

Remarkably it was Laia who made massive head-way through rocky terrain finishing 25th- with only 20 minutes 34 seconds separating the top 25 Bike riders.

Laia: ‘Finally a positive day. After the crash in Stage 2, I could enjoy today. I started to have a good pace and I didn’t ride the whole stage in a cloud of dust like the days before. Let’s hope it goes just as well tomorrow!

Mirjam Pol proved more than a match against fellow competitors since unplanned detour to help rider yesterday meant starting in 96th place – she cut this in half finishing in 51st.

Mirjam: ‘I didn’t get cold at the start of the special and that’s already a very good beginning. Because I started at the back, I had to catch up with a lot of predecessors. Because of the hard wind I could ride parallel next to another rider- that made me run little risks and could keep good speed’.

‘It was all about me this stage. In the speed-zones most of them race to 47 kilometers and I stopped at 49 kilometers so I could give gas a little faster and I certainly caught up with four participants’.

MIrjam Pol Stage 4 Overall 51st Photo Credit: ASO/Mirjam

How Taye Perry is contining to haul great timed results is anyone’s guess with the rookie hung-up with sore throat, cold and trying to get sleep inside 2-man tent. But Taye proved once again what the KTM rider is capable of closing rankings to 58th place.

Taye: ‘Today’s stage was pretty rough. It was hard on the guys. They were impressed with us girls doing it…it was brutal out there’.

‘Some sections were like an asteroid field…These bikes just shift over everything…it’s quite demanding on the body as well. It was very dusty…Even though I had a couple of falls, my navigation has been good. One or two confusing sections. I’m enjoying it. I’m having tons of fun. The body is feeling good…sore is good! I’m looking forward to tomorrow’.

One has to shout huge props to Sara Garcia competing in Bike category ‘Original by Motul’ class. ‘Unassisted’ racing Stages and then completing all bike maintenance herself- if ever there was test within Dakar test this class is it. And sleep- how much does she get? Sara’s update post was at 2.00am in the morning- when shut-eyes would have been welcome.

Sara: ‘We began to notice the weight of the km traveled⏱ hOy has been hard especially because of the type of terrain that has been destroyed after the passage of trucks & cars💨 The pedroloS of the road & the countdown while the light was fading have made the end of today’s phase hard. Even so, we are still at the bottom of the canyon enjoying the most and We are very happy to continue on the ground of this Dakar Rally 2020 waiting for the fifth stage, see you tomorrow’.

Sara Garcia Stage 4 Overall ‘Original by Motul’ 27th Photo Credit: Sara

South African Kirsten Landman rounded out Women Bike category in 70th place over 6 hours- 12 minutes- 18 seconds.

Cristina Gutierrez and co-driver Pablo Moreno have secured huge up-ward leap in rankings finishing Overall in 34th place despite Cristina’s concern on needing more power and not to mention navigating over rocky terrain.

Cristina: ‘We had to take risks, such as overtaking about 20 cars and it was worth it: tomorrow it is important to get out as early as possible. The last 100km have been the most complicated: huge stones and we have been made it at night. We still need a little power in the car, but I thank you for being here. More tomorrow! Thanks to everyone for your support! 🐢💨

With Fernanda Kanno and co-driver Alonso Carillo helping lone ‘Original by Motul’ rider back to camp yesterday, the Peruvian pair are determined to keep fighting no matter what obstacles, challenges, die-hard long distance racing is put in their way. Finishing the long day of 9 hours- 3 minutes- 5 seconds in 67th place- I sure hope both get enough sleep so we can all cheer them on to the Final Finish.

Cristina Gutierrez Stage 4 Overall 34th Photo Credit: Cristina

Fernanda: Today has been the toughest stage of our @dakarrally so far, more than 700 kms without rest … @dakarq, LA CERO and I have swallowed dust, we have collided a thousand times with stones of all sizes, we have slipped over the flabby sand and we even had several scares 🙈 but everything is worth it … We are still in the race and we will not stop until the finish line! # 

SSV driver Camelia Liparoti and co-driver Annett Fischer made consolidated race to finish in 36th place.

Dakar Rally Stage 5 Al- ‘Ula to Ha’il 564 kms 353 kms timed. Header Photo: Cristina Gutierrez and co-driver Pablo Moreno.

Film edit: Fernanda Kanno and Alonso Carillo helping guide ‘Original by Motul’ back to finish Stage 3.

Words: Sharon Cox.

Posted by Fernanda Kanno Garcia on Tuesday, 7 January 2020

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