Returning to racing following the cancellation of stage eight, which saw the 42nd Dakar Rally temporarily paused for all motorcycle class racers as a mark of respect to Paulo Goncalves who tragically lost his life on day seven, Laia Sanz has completed today’s 886-kilometre stage from Wadi Al-Dawasir to Haradh in 23rd position. A challenging day for all riders, an early start was followed by initial technical tracks before the special became a mentally draining day of high-speed riding. Laia completed the 410-kilometre special stage in a time of three hours and 48 minutes to finish 23rd and is now placed 17th in the provisional overall classification.
- At 886 kilometres, stage nine was the longest of the 2020 Dakar Rally
- Enjoying the technical start to the stage, Laia then opted for a ‘no risk’ strategy
- Ranked 17th overall, Laia remains the event’s lead female motorcycle competitor
Laia Sanz: “Today has been a tough day, a very long day. I enjoyed the first part because it was really technical – you really had to work with your bike and get involved with the stage. The second part wasn’t for me – it was flat out for a long, long time. This isn’t for me – I didn’t enjoy it and just took it easy to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. I knew I was losing time, but I wasn’t going to take any risks. Tomorrow is the start of the marathon stage, which I hope goes better than the first one we had.”
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the true marathon stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally and heads south-east to Shubaytah, featuring the second-longest special stage of the event at 534 kilometres.
Provisional results: Dakar Rally 2020, stage 9
1. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 3:30:33
2. Toby Price (KTM) 3:32:27 +1:54
3. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:33:15 +2:42
23. Laia Sanz (GasGas) 3:48:59 +18:26
Provisional standings: Dakar Rally 2020 (after stage 9)
1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 31:59:29
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 32:20:22 +20:53
3. Toby Price (KTM) 32:26:12 +26:43
17. Laia Sanz (GasGas) 35:06:56 +3:07:27