Stage 12: ASTARA TEAM riders make it through the marathon stage in the ‘Empty Quarter’
It was very hot, with lots of dunes and sand. That’s how the riders faced the penultimate stage of this edition of the Dakar. A total of 374 kilometers that will take them back to the bivouac in Shaybah where they will rejoin their teams after the marathon stage that started yesterday.
Once again, a very tough special stage, with 185 kilometers of timed stages, and with which they say goodbye to the ‘Empty Quarter’, the most unpopulated area in the world. The ASTARA TEAM drivers repeated the strategy of not taking unnecessary risks in order to complete the stage. And so it has been.
The first car of Laia Sanz and Maurizio Gerini, in 49th place, and only 34 minutes and 58 seconds behind the winner, was the first car of the team to reach the finish line today, in what has been a good stage because they have overcome the most difficult points, although the hooking in a dune to avoid a light buggy has made them lose about 10 minutes. The timed section took them a total time of 2 hours, 31 minutes and 19 seconds. The duo of Carlos Checa and Marc Solà had a more difficult time due to starter motor and gearbox failures, which caused them to lose a lot of time. In the end, their ASTARA 01 powered by e-fuel finished in 106th position.
With this result, Carlos Checa is 33rd in the overall standings, while Laia Sanz moves up to 69th.
Carlos Checa: “Today was a total odyssey. We were going very well and in one manoeuvre the car stalled and then the starter broke. We had to pull the car down the hill and we had to be towed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank once again for the help we received. Then we had problems with the reverse gear and with a lot of noise we were able to reach the end. It was a great satisfaction to make it because we couldn’t stop the car and because of everything that happened to us. And above all, I would like to highlight the work of the team. The mechanics are doing a great job and thanks to them we are also moving forward. Nobody here is losing their smile or their desire to work and, above all, with the objective of finishing this Dakar, which is being really difficult”.
Marc Solà: “Total odyssey. To be able to be at the end of this special stage is like a victory with all the problems we’ve had. We’ve been able to solve it as best we could, we’ve made a great team. Now we have to think that there are two days left, we have to fight and hold on until the end”.