Dakar Rally women’s champion Laia Sanz will defend her title with the new GasGas RC450F when the 2020 event kicks off tomorrow I Saudi Arabia.
The most successful female competitor at the Dakar Rally, Sanz comes into the 2020 event not only hoping to extend her 100 per cent finishers record but to also claim another top-15 result.
The Spaniard enjoyed a strong 2019 season including an excellent seventh place at the gruelling Silk Way Rally. Now, with the full support of GasGas Factory Racing, Sanz hopes to continue her impressive run of form and successfully complete her tenth Dakar with a strong result.
“It is always an exciting time, just before the start of Dakar. We had already completed a lot of testing on the bike in Morocco in December, but it’s been good to see and ride the terrain here in Saudi Arabia,” said Sanz.
“So far, my feeling on the bike has been very good. I think once the race has started, we will see lots of different styles of terrain, and for sure a really challenging Dakar.
My first impressions here have been good, the country is very beautiful. To join GasGas for their new rally project is motivating, I’m so happy to be representing the brand here and throughout the season. As everyone knows, it’s really tough to finish the Dakar and my goal is to be inside the top 15.
“The level of riders is really high right now and I will need to be smart to have a good race. Last year I finished 12th and had great results during the 2019 racing season, so I hope to keep this momentum going into the 2020 Dakar. I feel ready, I’ve been training hard, I feel healthy and my goal is to earn a good result for GasGas on this new bike.”
Starting in the coastal city of Jeddah, the 12-stage event will first lead riders north along the coast of the Red Sea, before returning south through the Empty Quarter and finishing in Qiddiya on January 17. With 75 percent of the race ridden in sand and with expected difficult navigation promising to truly test the riders, the 2020 race looks set to be one of the toughest yet.