Ride safe, don’t make any big mistakes and complete the second leg of the two-day marathon stage ready to do battle on stage nine! That was Laia’s goal as she set off this morning and one that she executed perfectly, reaching the end of the 709-kilometer day without troubles and as the 27th fastest rider. Making one important step closer to the finish of the event, Laia is now ready to take on the final four days.
Laia Sanz: “I’m pleased this stage is finished! I knew already yesterday that today was going to be very difficult for me, and it was. I have some pain in my wrist, so I am being very cautious with my riding, just trying to make sure I don’t make any big mistakes. Thankfully, today things weren’t quite as bad as I expected them to be. They were tough, but I rode safely and, well, I’m one stage closer to the end of the event. My bike is in great shape, and apart from my wrist I am also doing well. Now I will rest and prepare as best I can for the long special stage we have ahead of us tomorrow.”
Fearful the pain in her wrist, which made stage seven difficult, would again hamper her progress through stage eight, Laia focused on simply completing today’s stage. Thankfully, finding things to be ‘not too bad’, Laia was again able to complete a mistake-free day and return her GASGAS RC 450F safely to her team, who will now ready her bike for the upcoming second longest special stage of the event tomorrow.
With the event’s two-part marathon stage now complete, next up for Laia is the second longest timed special stage of the competition! With 465-kilometers of racing against the clock, the entire 579-kilometer stage will start close to the sea near Neom before taking riders inland. Sandy trails will feature predominantly for much of the day before rocky canyons look set to deliver a sting in the tail with challenging navigation almost guaranteed during the closing kilometers of the stage.
Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2021, stage 8
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 3:08:40
2. Toby Price (KTM) 3:09:45
3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:11:30
27. Laia Sanz (GASGAS) 3:43:01
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 8)
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 32:00:11
2. Toby Price (KTM) 32:01:17
3. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 32:06:08
24. Laia Sanz (GASGAS) 35:40:07