Dakar Rally 2020 all Stages completed- amazing performance by all 9 Women- with special milestones achieved

Dakar Rally 2020 all Stages completed- amazing performance by all 9 Women- with special milestones achieved

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Dakar Rally 2020 is all complete with Competitors coming to Final Stage 12 from Haradh to Qiddiya over 429 kms with 167 kms timed. All 9 Women in Bike, Car and SSV categories crossed the finish to stand on top of podium not only celebrating final ranking positions but also their success at completing the most challenging World Rally over the past 12 days.

Special milestones were achieved, one being Laia Sanz completing her 10th consecutive Dakar in 18th position- first female to write her own history in Dakar’s 42nd edition in Saudia Arabia. Laia kept cool logic through-out all Stages, making deliberate decisions to push when feeling comfortable racing unknown terrain, dialing back when keeping safe was better option than riding over limit- all to fulfill year-long obejective of racing to finish her 10th Dakar.

Laia Sanz Stage 12 complete Photo Credit: A.S.O

Sara Garcia achieved monumental success completing first-ever Dakar Rally in ‘Original by Motul’ category finishing in 22nd place. Sara’s determination to finish each and every Stage even under duress from lack of sleep- being her own mechanic et al proved to any would-be female Dakar contender that racing Dakar is doable under tight budget. With positive mind-set, ethics that hard work breeds success, Sara kept all in focus to see her goal through to the end.

Bike category Rookies Taye Perry and Kirsten Landman experienced all Dakar offers- highs, lows, emotions of how-do-I keep-going and all in between. Most admirably, both South African female riders never gave up, pushed their strength of character to depths to rise to challanges presented- as Kirsten states-racing Dakar was far more a mental challenge than actual physical.

Taye Perry was on the verge of ‘would-she-make-it-to finish-line’ in Stage 11 after bike failed to re-start in tip-over on sand dunes. For sure Taye and all supporters were more than glad when the gutsy pint-sized rider was seen pushing her bike the final distance in the dark to camp,  where she proceeded to prepare for Final Stage 12 and nailed finishing debut place in 77th position.

Kirsten Landman Stage 12 complete Photo Credit: A.S.O

Kirsten Landman was absolutely estastic to make Final Stage 12 finish celebrating debut 55th place. Acknowledging that racing Dakar had taken 2 and half years of planning and preparation, Kirsten could not contain the feeling of elation coupled with relief on achieving victory today.

Heartfelt warmth from Mirjam Pol to fellow competitors who encounter difficulties racing Dakar shines light on Mirjam as a person and racer. Even as Mirjam competed in her 8th Dakar, loving the challenge of learning from each and every Stage, raising the bar to higher levels of performance- it never came at the expense of ignoring a competitor in need of help. One truely admires such depth of generosity within race conditions, a reminder of the true spirit of Dakar which Mirjam upholds.

Car category driver Cristina Gutierrez and co-driver Pablo Moreno were so consistent in rankings through-out Stages 1-12 making final 42nd place in General rankings an accomplishment in itself. Up against a whooping 19 ‘Legands’ of Car driver Teams, Cristina and Pablo’s committment, dedication and determination to achieve final success proved winning combination.

Massive props to Peru’s Fernanda Kanno driver and Alonso Carillo co-driver marathon effort to live, race and succeed to final finish of Dakar Rally 2020 coming all the way from distant shores on other side of the world. Without a doubt, Fernanda and Alonso’s will to push when faced with racing new terrain, their sheer strength of character to remain calm when stuck in desert at night and comradeship for fellow Dakar competitors is truely inspirational. Salute the Peruvian pair!

Fernanda Kanno and Alonso Carillo Stage 9 Photo Credit: A.S.O

If it wasn’t for unfortunate mechanical issue with C.A.T SSV, Camelia Liparoti driver and Annett Fischer co-driver would have stood on General Rankings podium. Yet, even though the dynamic pair- one harking pink against Saudi’s desert sand, and the other ever so cool when one disaster struck after another, Camelia and Annett gave all watching a taste of humility when faced with adversity.

Neither one succumbed to throwing in towel when faced with finishing Rally in ‘Dakar Experience’ category, instead crossed the Final Stage 12 finish line knowing success had been achieved through their own measure of staying power.

What an amazing Dakar Rally 2020 for all 9 Women. It has been a privilege to cover all in Bike, Car and SSV category. Header Photo: Mirjam Pol credit A.S.O.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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