Stage 14: Great finish for the ASTARA TEAM. The team finishes its second Dakar with a sustainable car and Carlos Checa as the best Spaniard in his category
And then came the last day of the Dakar, an edition marked by the toughness of the route but also by rain and mud. A total of 8,888 kilometers spread over 14 stages, 4,303 of which were timed, to which must be added 11 kilometers of the prologue. The last 138 kilometers of today’s special stage must have tasted like glory to all those who managed to cross the finish line. A great achievement in the toughest motor racing competition in the world.
After leaving the desert dunes behind them in yesterday’s stage, today the drivers faced a total of 417 kilometers of predominantly sand, soil and mud. With the experience gained from the start, it was time to enjoy driving with the taste of ‘victory’ already at hand but with the necessary caution to avoid risks. And so it was for the ASTARA TEAM drivers. The duos of Carlos Checa-Marc Solà and Laia Sanz-Maurizio Gerini go home with the great achievement of having finished another Dakar. For the whole team it is a great satisfaction considering the many obstacles they have had to overcome with hard work, effort, professionalism, tenacity and a lot of companionship.
A magnificent stage for Carlos Checa, who was the first Spaniard to cross the finish line, on the shores of the Persian Gulf in 10th place, just 6 minutes and 18 seconds behind the winner. A great result for this last timed section that took them one hour, 15 minutes and 42 seconds to complete. Also 10th in the T1 category, as the best Spaniard both in the stage and in the overall, where he is 23rd, while in the subcategory of prototypes with 4×2 traction Checa is on the podium as leader in today’s stage. A great result for the former World Superbike champion, who can now add to his record the successful completion of his second Dakar.
The ASTARA 01 powered by e-fuel of Laia Sanz -still with stomach problems- and Maurizio Gerini reached the finish line in 36th place, 13 minutes and 41 seconds behind the stage leader, while in the T1 category the ASTARA TEAM rider finished in 25th place -32nd overall-. In the 4×2 prototypes category, Laia Sanz finished today in 11th position.
Focusing on the overall classification of the 45th edition of the Dakar Rally, the ASTARA TEAM riders finished in 32nd place for Carlos Checa and 65th place for Laia Sanz, an important result for the rider after a rollover in stage 5 and managing to stay in the race thanks to the epic feat of the whole team. For Carlos Checa, this is his second participation in the Dakar and his best result, as last year a rollover left him out of the race for three stages. For her part, Laia Sanz can boast of having completed all the editions of the Dakar in which she has participated, eleven on a bike and two in a car, thirteen in a row!
The ASTARA TEAM has once again opted for a racing car powered by e-fuel. The ASTARA 01 has proven to be the best possible solution for competing in the Dakar at the highest level and in a sustainable way. In the first week of the Dakar alone, the ASTARA team had managed to save 11.58 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere thanks to the use of this environmentally friendly fuel. Now, with the rally over, the team will analyse and audit all the data to produce a detailed report of ASTARA TEAM’s carbon footprint. The result will be more than compensated by participating in different emission offsetting projects.
Carlos Checa: “We are very happy to have completed the Dakar. It has not been easy because everything has happened to us, but we have to thank the SMC team and ASTARA for having trusted in this project and for carrying it out, I have enjoyed it a lot but we have also suffered a bit. Having Marc by my side has been an important support. Today we really enjoyed the stage, we rode like hell, Marc made me slow down a bit but today was the day to have fun and in the end it was a super stage. We finished with a very good taste in our mouths, for everything that has happened in each of the stages, we will have time to review it, remember it, because they have been very intense experiences. Personally, it has been a great experience, to have met a co-driver and to have found a friend”.
Marc Solà: “I’m very happy to have finished the Dakar. Thanks to the team and especially to Carlos for having trusted me. Very happy, today Carlos made me suffer a lot because it was a stage with the objective of finishing it and he went out with a knife between his teeth but he proved to be a great driver, we did it perfectly. Now let’s celebrate with the whole team and see you next time”.
Laia Sanz: “We finished the Dakar, 13 out of 13. It was hard but I want to thank the mechanics for their work every day and every night, and Maurizio who did a great job. It’s bittersweet because I think we could have been more competitive but we are here”.