Marching forwards and completing another stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally, Laia Sanz has successfully finished the 629-kilometer stage three, a looped stage that took all competitors through the desert south of the bivouac at Wadi Al-Dawasir. Another fast day in the saddle, as well as higher speed sections towards the end of the stage it also featured slow-speed rocky tracks as well as sand dunes. Overall, the stage served up yet more demanding navigation and intense racing, testing all riders to the limit. Feeling increasingly settled aboard her GASGAS RC 450F following her prolonged pre-event lay-off with illness, Laia continues to build her confidence.
Laia Sanz: “It was another good day for me – like yesterday I was able to find a rhythm that I was happy with and I avoided any errors. Trying to not make any big mistakes and to ride consistently is my goal. We are only a few days into the race at the moment, and there will be a lot of difficult days ahead, so it is important to take things step-by-step. It was a fast stage today, but everything went ok. It will be another long day on the bike tomorrow, so my plan will again be to ride at a good pace and focus on avoiding problems.”
Starting as the 23rd rider to enter today’s stage three, for the most part Laia enjoyed a trouble-free ride. Moving up a few positions during the opening 40 kilometers, she then spent much of the day in and around 25th position, eventually coming home as the day’s 26th fastest rider and just 22 minutes down on stage winner Toby Price.
Up next for Laia is the 813-kilometer stage four, the longest of the event but featuring one of the shortest special stages of the race at 337 kilometers, that will take her to the Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh.
Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2021, stage 3
1. Toby Price (KTM) 3:33.23
2. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 3:36.39
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:37.59
26. Laia Sanz (GASGAS) 3:56.00