Dakar Rally 2020- 6 Women competing across 3 categories: Bike, SSV and Car

Dakar Rally 2020- 6 Women competing across 3 categories: Bike, SSV and Car

Dakar Rally 2020 enters brand new decade with 6 fiercely determined Women competing in Bike, SSV and Car categories over 12 grueling Stages from January 5th to 17th.

Dakar Rally 2020 route Saudia Arabia Photo credit Dakar Rally

For the first time, Dakar Rally takes place in Saudia Arabia starting with initial preparations before Stage 1 begins from city of Jeddah. Navigating along the coast of the Red Sea, riders and drivers will then turn inlands and face the challenging desert sands before reaching half-way point after Stage 6 at city of Riyadh.

With Rest Day at the bivouac compound in Riyadh, Stages 7- 12 will test competitors endurance, stamina and all-out physical and mental fortitude to cross the finish at Qiddiyah- a triumph in itself for all involved.

In the Bike category, Laia Sanz (KTM Gas Gas) will compete in her 10th Dakar Rally holding record for best female bike category to finish in top 15. Completing 2019 Dakar Rally in 12th place, the Spanish rider will be hard to beat against fellow Spanish competitor Sara Garcia and South African Kirsten Landman.

Racing Yamaha’s WRF450, Sara Garcia will embark on most challenging of categories under ‘No Assistance’ over entire Rally. Having already tasted experience in 2019 Dakar, Sara sustains all rider and mechanical responsibility over all Stages, unaided with mechanics after each Stage of racing. As the first Spanish Woman to complete the ‘Dakar solo’ earlier this year, Sara has all knowledge and skills to perfect racing drawing from her engineering background in Spain.

Laia Sanz KTM Gas Gas Photo Credit: KTM Factroy

Kirsten Landman will be competing in Dakar for the first time, having spent best part of 2 and half years planning and preparing for such a date. With accomplishments galore racing as professional in Off-Road and Hard Enduro Championships since 2014, Kirsten’s success as 1st female and 15th Overall in Bronze class at Red Bull Romaniacs this year confirms the KTM rider is in good head-space.

In the SSV category- titled 4 wheeled ‘side by side’ Italian Camelia Liparoti driver and Germany’s Annett Fischer co-driver will race together as only female duo for the first time. Liparoti has firm race experience under her recognised pink cap having finished 9th in Quad category in 2012 and 1st female Overall in 2013.

Annett Fischer will co-pilot with Camelia, a late call-up for the tenacious German, but not out of Annett’s realm of skill, expertise and experience. Having raced 2019 Dakar as first German Team with co-driver Andrea Peterhansel and completed Merzouga Rally in 2018, Annett has doer qualities of strength of character that will serve both drivers pysche well to complete the grueling Rally.

Kirsten Landman Roof of Africa 2019

The Car category will elevate Spanish driver Cristina Gutierrez to her 4th Dakar Rally and Cristina is already excited at the thought of conquering the new terrain of Saudi’s desert sands. With co-driver Pablo Moreno, Cristina takes emphatic view that racing Dakar Rally 2020 raises the bar yet again on what can be achieved  with skills of navigation, determination and precise planning.

Racing Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross car, Cristina has tasted enough adversity to realise what she is capable of- quote from 2019 Dakar misfortune: “We broke the alternator belt, so we had to replace it with the spare, but that one broke too”‘.

‘”We had to cut one in two to cover the last 50 kilometres at almost snail’s pace, but the main thing is that we reached the finishing line this evening. Anyway, I’ll get to the finish even if I have to push the car”’. 

Dakar Rally 2020: January 5th – 17th.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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