Women racing 2022 Dakar Rally Stage 2 surfed the dunes, found their rhythm and posted successful finish times

Women racing 2022 Dakar Rally Stage 2 surfed the dunes, found their rhythm and posted successful finish times

Women racing 2022 Dakar Rally Stage 2 surfed the dunes, found their rhythm and posted successful finish times over 338kms of special section from Ha’il to Al Qaisumah. Great performances from all women pushed aside doubts that Legends, Rookies and those racing for consecutive years have the stamina, nous and sheer courage to rise to each and every challenge Dakar puts in their way.

Mirjam Pol finishing Stage 2 in 51st place. Image ASO.

Top contenders in Bike category made short work of overcoming any obstacles encountered from Stage 1A and B with Mirjam Pol hitting her stride on the sand and dunes finishing in 51st place. Mirjam: ‘I’ve had a great day! This is my site. I’ve had a great ride through the dunes. The Team adjusted my suspension yesterday, and I certainly benefited from it today’.

Debutante rider Sandra Gomez pulled off remarkable finish of 71st place in 4 hours, 45 minutes and 35 seconds while Sara Garcia made up for lost time from Day 1 pushing through from 113st position to finish in 73rd place, 5 minutes shy of Gomez.

Really nice to see French rider Audrey Rossat finding more enjoyable racing groove amongst massive line-up of 144 Bike riders finishing 2nd special in 116th position. Audrey: ‘Great day, super feeling with the motorcycle and satisfied with my navigation today, and with speedo cap which works better. First dunes of Stage 2 and zero falls compared to last year. I think the experience is starting to feel like I will fall less into the traps of the Dakar Rally tracks’.

Slightly on edge have been the drivers and co-pilots racing in Car category. #1 speed and missing waypoints can have disastrous effects for entire Rally. #2 elements of the unexpected test how resilient each competitor remains- as noted by Monica Plaza and father Manola Plaza during special on Day 1.

Monica: ‘At 20kms we had a trapeze break, then when we were working on fixing it, my Dad got his finger stuck- which meant helicopter to doctor to stitch thumb- back to wait for assistance truck on track to finish repairing and then full gas! We’ve done 160kms over dunes at night. Navigation became more complicated but we have a Top Team!

Sandra Gomez finishing Stage 2 in 71st place. Image ASO.

For Taye Perry paired with 2x Legend Cyril Despres, best performance is always the objective- but this is Dakar. 2 punctures on Day 1 and that unforeseen rock a few kilometres from the end of the stage meant finish of 26th position heading into Stage 3 tomorrow. Newly recruited to Car category, Laia Sanz exercised all caution not to exit Dakar early rounding out 2nd special in 34th place.

If one heart-felt moment deserves mentioning, it is to Camelia Liporati who lost her Dakar camper to a random fire prior to Dakar Rally Day 1 start. All Camelia’s belongings: gear, clothes, passport, place to sleep and eat along with co-driver Xavier Blanco’s gear were gone. Thanks to tremendous rally of support, help and encouragement to continue and race, Camelia has pulled off an amazing ‘Pink Lady’ finish in Lightweight category of 14th place at end of Stage 2.

Cristina Gutierrez and co-driver Francois Cazalet edged that much further up the Lightweight Vehicle rankings finishing 5th in Stage 2 followed by consistent performance by female duo Annett Fischer and Annie Seel coming in 21st place. By far, congratulations must go to newbie’s to the Dakar, but far from fresh out of racing experience- all female crew of Merce Marti and Margot Llobera who completed Stage 2 in 29th place.

Camelia Liporati’s Dakar camper on fire December 31st.

Merce: ‘The 338kms special today posed quite a challenge to overcome by being 100% on sand and dunes and on wet terrain due to the rain from previous days. Plus, we were a little late as we had to attend an accident. We are very happy with how we have managed today and are very prepared for tomorrow’s stage’. 

Australian Molly Taylor and co-driver Dale Moscatt are in synch, in focus and on a mission to grab as high a spot as possible in SSV rankings. For sure, the inevitable adjustment period of taking on racing 12 Stages of Dakar, compared to couple of days racing Rally/Extreme E Championships- takes time. Molly has obviously given herself and Dale one day to adjust, as the likeable pair finished Stage 2 in 8th position and hold 10th place Overall. You bet- there will be more to come!

2022 Dakar Rally Stage 3 from Al Qaaisumah to Al Qaisumah total of 636kms with 255kms timed- January 4th.

Header Photo Merce Marti and Margot Llobera Image ASO.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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