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Stage 10: Laia Sanz displays her talents navigating solo

12/01/2012
She successfully passed through the two trickiest navigation points in the stage, never doubting which way to go. The Catalan rider stopped to help a Turkish rider who had suffered an accident in the last part of the stage.
Laia Sanz continues advancing at a good pace in her route to the finishing line in Lima. The Gas Gas rider again managed the special with intelligence, taking no risks and finishing the tenth stage, between Iquique and Arica, in 47th position. In the general classification she moves up five places to reach 41st.

Since she has been without her backup, Laia has shown a firm determination to reach the finish and in order to do that she understands clearly how she must handle the race. This trial multi-champion is demonstrating a veteran skill really unexpected in a girl for whom this is only her second time in the always difficult Dakar Rally: “I didn’t go very fast in order to save the mechanics with a view to the coming days. Today there were riders who had engine failure and I don’t want that to happen to me. Tomorrow we have the marathon stage and I will have no mechanic, so I don’t want any surprises and I will go extra carefully. I am very aware that I have to take a comfortable but safe rhythm and this is what I’m doing”.

Sanz, who has been riding solo since her team mate Marc Guasch had to retire, is showing that she is very secure in the navigation: “I’m happy because I’m finding it fairly easy to read the road book and navigate. In the dunes, today, there were a couple of tricky points where a lot of people got lost. Fortunately, I found the right way and that helped to give me more confidence”.

At the end of the stage, Laia could have improved her result but she stopped to help a Turkish rider who had fallen: “The boy had to communicate with the organisation because he had injured an arm and he could only speak Turkish, so I stopped to help him. I hope he’s OK”.

Tomorrow the rally moves into Peru where there is a timed stage of 478 kilometres.

Marc Guasch, the Gas Gas rider who was backup to Laia Sanz until his accident, is still under observation, conscious and showing good progress after the serious injuries he received.

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