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Laia Sanz makes his debut in cars at the Dakar: “Racing with Carlos Sainz helped me a lot”

Laia Sanz makes his debut in cars at the Dakar:

He ran for the first time in 2011 and has not missed an appointment since. There are 11 in a row, all of them on motorcycles, with an absolute ninth place, in 2015, as the best position. Now he is launching his first adventure on four wheels.

Laia Sanz, during her presentation.Toni AlbirEFE

That of 2022 will be a different Dakar for Laia Sanz (Corbera de Llobregat, Barcelona, ​​1985). After 11 consecutive editions living it on a motorcycle, I will do it for the first time at the wheel of a car. And also integrated into a dream team: the X-raid, winner of the last two editions with Carlos Sainz (2020) and Stphane Peterhansel (2021) as pilots. He has already competed in various events throughout the year. Now, in Saudi Arabia, he will have by his side another motorcycle rider who knows the Dakar, Maurizio gerini, his third co-driver after having also competed together with Lucas Cruz Y Dani oliveras. His objective: above all, to finish the test and accumulate kilometers. Something in which the car to drive a Mini 4×4, will have a lot to do. Not surprisingly, it has earned a well-deserved reputation as an indestructible mount.

How was the adaptation to cars?
So far, it’s going well. It has not been easy, although I know it is true that I have experienced a very great improvement from the beginning of the year until now. The fact of racing with Carlos Sainz has helped me a lot and, afterwards, having been able to do the Ha’il Rally or compete in Andalusia has also been a great help. It has been a very intense year, but a very good one for my learning.
Do you still feel a little weird about having a steering wheel instead of a handlebar in your hands?
It’s a little weird, because, like it or not, I still feel like a motorcycle racer. I’m getting used to the idea, and I know I’m doing more things with cars, but sometimes I still have a weird feeling, yes.
At the level of physical preparation, have you had to make changes or follow different routines?
These last months we have gone from race to race and I have not been able to prepare specifically, but I have stayed in shape. For the car, in the future I will have to work on some specific things, but in Ha’il I felt very good and it is not as demanding as the bike.
And as for postural issues?
The first thing is to find a comfortable position on the bucket. At Ha’il my neck was badly beaten. Perhaps that is what suffers the most with the car and what, over time, will have to work better.
After 11 years, will you miss the bike at some point during the Dakar?
Sure. The sand, the team atmosphere, the teammates … I miss all that a lot, but, on the other hand, I am very happy for the step I have taken and there are things that I should not miss at all, such as early rises. that we stuck together, getting cold in the links … There are many things that we have already seen in Ha’il the two of us, because we both see the motorcycle, which are very different, how to be able to say, ‘uf, how warm it is in here ‘(smile).
Now run with someone next door. Will that make the experience even more enriching?
It also has its grace. Sharing this with someone I think would be pretty. Either you fight or you end up forging a beautiful friendship, and I think it will be the latter. At Ha’il we had a great time, we got on very well and I think we can go very well together.
Can the fact that you both have experience on the bike help you understand each other better or can it cause sparks to fly?
I know it’s true that sometimes I found it strange not to be reading the road book, but it’s something I’ll have to get used to and I think the fact that the two of us come on the bike will make us understand each other better.
That a team like X-raid has bet on you, does it mean more pressure?
More pressure, no. It’s my first year, it calms me down. I go with a great team, with a warranty car, and that gives me more peace of mind.
His car is a T-1 category, one notch below the T-1 + that are released this year. The medium-term objective is to get behind the wheel of a T-1 +?
The aim now is to finish this Dakar and do the best possible. In the future, I will love it, but you have to be realistic. We have a very good car to have a good first year in the Dakar and in the future, we’ll see. Obviously, you have to dream, but for that I still have a lot left.
Jutta Kleinschmidt is so far the only woman who has been proclaimed the winner of the Dakar. He did it when he was 38 years old and also came from motorcycles. Is it your example to follow?
Jutta was one of my idols. Seeing a woman fighting the boys and that she could win the Dakar was very good. Times have changed, it’s different, but it was a benchmark for me, I hope I can get closer to what I achieved. I’m starting now with cars, I’m a junior, I have to do many kilometers and I hope I have the option to do them, to grow as a driver and see how far I can go.
She started racing cars a little earlier. Time is a factor that works against you?
Nowadays, the age factor is not so important. I have done a lot of Dakars on a motorcycle, I have that experience. If you take care of yourself, you can also extend your career a lot. I don’t think I’m late, I think I’m still young to start with cars.
At the Spanish level, women’s sport continues to achieve great successes and has more and more media presence. Are they achieving those successes because they are being listened to more or are their accomplishments making them more listened to?
It’s a mix of everything. The media are giving it more attention and so we can better realize the great athletes we have. It is like a chain. If we have more support, we have more options, more help and I think it’s a bit of a tail-biting fish.

Reference from elmundo