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Stage 13: Laia Sanz, 29 km from ‘reigning’ once more

The women’s winner of the Dakar 2011 is just a day away from the podium in Lima as the only woman still in the race.
Laia Sanz is one step away from achieving the primary objective of any competitor in the Dakar Rally: getting to the end. The Gas Gas pilot successfully completed the last difficult special in the rally, which was disputed today between Nasca and Pisco, with 275 kilometres against the clock, and now she only has to finish the 29 kilometres of the selective sector tomorrow to become queen of the Dakar once more.

Last year’s women’s winner is the only woman remaining in the race this year and throughout the competition, in spite of her youth, she has shown great courage and maturity on her bike. This Catalan girl, who also holds 11 world trial titles, has been able to marshal her forces and mitigate the wear on her bike until the penultimate stage of this Dakar. Today she crossed the finishing line in 41st place and in the general she is 40th. To equal her classification last year and finish 39th, Laia would have to recover the almost 11 minutes that the Dutchman Daniel Willemsen is ahead of her, but she says this is not the objective: “This year I wanted to try to be among the first 30, but in the circumstances it has not been possible, this has been a tough rally and a lot of things have happened, but I am really proud of what I have done and how I did it. To repeat 39th place is not my aim and with hardly 30 kilometres of special I shall not try to risk it. Tomorrow all I want to do is finish”.

On the rally moving into Peru, Laia said she was delighted: “Coming to Peru has been a real success, as the stages in this country have been the best and most beautiful of the race. Today, for example, I enjoyed the dunes a lot and I navigated well. I feel very happy here and I hope to come back”.


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