Stage 11: First part of the ‘Empty Quarter’ marathon passed for the ASTARA TEAM riders
A key stage for the riders in this marathon stage in which they will not be able to count on the help of their team in case of any problems that may arise. Yesterday’s intense day in the dunes has served as preparation for the further push into the desert of the ‘Empty Quarter’. A total of 428 kilometers ahead of them, 275 of which were timed.
It was a good stage for the ASTARA TEAM drivers, who were able to finish the day with the car in one piece, something essential in this marathon stage in which they don’t have the help of their mechanics team. They have to work to get the car ready for tomorrow’s stage.
Both Carlos Checa and Laia Sanz took the day in their stride, with the main objective of reaching the finish without taking any risks. And that’s what they did. The duo formed by Carlos Checa and Marc Solà finished the stage in 46th place, 42 minutes and 53 seconds behind the winner. In total it took them a time of 3 hours, 39 minutes and 7 seconds. The team formed by Laia Sanz and Maurizio Gerini finished the day in 69th place, one hour, 10 minutes and 13 seconds behind today’s leader.
With this result, Carlos Checa is once again the best Spaniard in 29th place in the overall standings, while Laia Sanz climbs to 70th place.
Carlos Checa: “Today the smile is back and we were looking forward to it after the problems we had yesterday, which caused us to lose a lot of time, but we were able to finish the stage thanks to the work of the ASTARA TEAM and the mechanics who worked all night. At the beginning, the pressure sensors failed again, but they stabilized. And then the car went very well. Today both Marc and I had a big challenge, which was to face the dunes, we found some incredible dunes, I had never seen such high dunes and in some points they were very soft, it was like a mousetrap, full of traps. We didn’t escape getting stuck a few times, but in the end, it was a huge satisfaction to have crossed them. We lost very little time and the most important thing is that we got the car back in one piece. Tomorrow we have another stage, the marathon, and we have to do some mechanical work”.
Marc Solà: “It was a complicated objective. The mission was to get there, keep the car, keep the pace and not take any risks. We’re in the marathon stage, we’ll have to do some mechanical work, there’s a transmission that we’ll probably have to change and now we’ll get down to work”.
Laia Sanz: “Today was a very tough day, so we are very happy to have finished. We set off with the idea of finishing, which was our goal, because it was the marathon stage and we couldn’t gamble. We didn’t push hard at all, but we got stuck three or four times. The sand was very soft and only with rear-wheel drive it’s more complicated. Even so, we can be happy after having encountered a lot of people overturned or with problems”.