Women racing 2022 Dakar Rally Stage 6 completed- podium honours to Cristina Gutierrez- Rest Day tomorrow

Women racing 2022 Dakar Rally Stage 6 completed- podium honours to Cristina Gutierrez- Rest Day tomorrow

Women racing 2022 Dakar Rally have completed Stage 6 with podium honours going to Cristina Gutierrez and co-pilot Francois Cazalet for Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team. Equally, respect goes to Dakar’s organizer- ASO- for listening to bike riders at re-fueling station making the decision to neutralize Stage at 101kms due to dangerous track conditions.

Cristina Gutierrez and Francois Cazalet gain 2nd podium at end of Stage 6 for Red Bull Off Road Junior Team. Image ASO.

For @cris-tortu and Francois Cazalet making 2nd podium at end of Stage 6 was definite confidence boost ahead of Rest Day tomorrow. Currently standing 3rd in General classification, having completed 26 hours, 39 minutes and 33 seconds behind the wheel in 6 days, the Spanish driver and French co-driver have eyes firmly fixed on the prize heading into 2nd week of Dakar.

Cristina: ‘First week of the Dakar complete. We can’t get to the Rest Day with a better feeling. Stage 6 was very good to us in terms of navigation and driving. We’ve gone at a very good pace the whole stage. Happy for P2 of the Stage and we have climbed to P3 in General, this gives us a lot of strength to face the second week’.  

Consolidating 8th position Overall, Camelia Liporati and co-pilot Xavier Blanco pulled off another controlled performance finishing 15th followed by female duo Annett Fischer and Annie Seel who managed another consistent result of 26th place.

Even though all female crew of Merce Marti and co-driver Margot Llobera are making sweet work of completing each Stage on debut, there have been couple of hair-raising moments which the women have dealt with and soldiered on. Like- when the car rolled over as Merce puts it: ‘Also, we rolled over a stretch of small dunes that were very cutting that caused a flat tyre but we were able to fix it and keep going’. Currently ranked 23rd Overall clocking up 33 hours, 57 minutes and 23 seconds by Day 6.

Shattering glass ceilings on what an athlete can achieve in first Dakar Rally racing in Car category has been proved possible by Legend Laia Sanz completing Stage 6 in 22nd position. From initial start place of 112th to climbing rankings to 26th Overall, Laia and co-driver Maurizio Gerini have provided inspiration for any athlete weighing up which pathway their respective racing careers will go.

Merce Marti and co-driver Margot Llobera making roll over and recovering to carry on racing. Image CMR Group.

Equally, Taye Perry continues apace with positive mind-set racing with 2x Dakar Rally Legend Cyril Despres finishing Stage 6 in 20th place Overall, along with Australian dynamo Molly Taylor and co-driver Dale Moscatt, claiming 9th position at end of Stage 6, boosting their Overall standings to 18th in SSV category.

With Stage 6 cut-short at 101kms for Bikes, rider Mirjam Pol was not too upset about returning to the bivouac early, even though riding amongst such breath-taking landscape at speed remains the Dutch rider’s feel-good space. Standing 52nd Overall and leading the Women’s category, Mirjam enters 2nd week with key factors in mind: ‘stay focused, ride within my limits and do not do anything stupid’- to make Stage 12 finish line.

Dakar Rally debut rider Sandra Gomez takes each Stage as it comes, not getting too caught up in changes that occur- like sand-storm cut Stage 5 and then treacherous route cut Stage 6. Carving nice upward trend in rankings, the first ever female to finish Red Bull Romaniacs Gold Class earlier this year currently holds 77th place Overall.

Both Sara Garcia and Audrey Rossat welcome respite from racing past 6 days, with the Spanish rider taking Rest Day to recover arm injury and the French rider to give time for thumb to heal. Not least, Audrey claims early congratulations for not falling once over Stages 1-6. Audrey: ‘End of first week: ZERO FALLS- as long as it lasts‘. Currently ranked 110th in General classification.

2022 Dakar Rally Stage 7 from Riyadh to Al Dawadini Total 701kms with 402kms timed, on January 9th.

Header photo Molly Taylor Stage 5 in SSV category.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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