With just one stage of the 42nd running of the Dakar Rally remaining, GasGas Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz today took an important step closer to achieving her goal of finishing a 10th Dakar by completing stage 11 from Shubaytah to Haradh. Despite coming close to a fall, Laia finished the penultimate 379-kilometre special in a time of just over four-and-a-half hours, placing 18th for the day on her GasGas RC 450F.
- Laia completed stage 11 despite a near fall shortly after the day’s refuelling stop
- 18th fastest today, Laia sits 17th in the provisional overall motorcycle standings
- 447 kilometres of riding now separate Laia from the finish of the 2020 Dakar Rally
Laia Sanz: “It’s good to have finished the marathon stage and to be one step closer to the finish of the Dakar. I was doing well today, but I was a little worried that I was running low on fuel, so I eased off a little before the fuel stop. After refuelling I hit a hole that I didn’t see – I hit it really hard with the front wheel and hit my chest and some fingers on the bike, which is quite painful. It will make tomorrow a little harder, but my goal now is 100% to complete this final stage and reach the finish of Dakar.”
As the penultimate day of competition in Saudi Arabia, stage 11 marked the completion of the event’s marathon stage. From the temporary overnight bivouac at Shubaytah, Laia started today’s stage on the same tyres as she finished stage 10 and having carried out all of her own pre-stage maintenance. Faced with a fast special filled with sand dunes, the soft terrain saw many riders, including Laia, run low on fuel.
The 12th and final stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally takes place tomorrow, with competitors departing Haradh and racing north-west to the finish line in Qiddya. With a strong result on the 374-kilometre special Laia can progress into the top 15 in the overall event classification.
Provisional results: Dakar Rally 2020, stage 11
1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 4:09:22
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 4:09:31 +0:09
3. Luciano Benavides (KTM) 4:12:10 +2:48
18. Laia Sanz (GasGas) 4:33:14 +23:52
Provisional standings: Dakar Rally 2020 (after stage 11)
1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 38:33:28
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 38:47:24 +13:56
3. Toby Price (KTM) 38:56:02 +22:34
17. Laia Sanz (GasGas) 42:19:43 +3:46:15