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Laia Sanz, before her second Dakar in cars: "We have good ingredients to take a step forward"

   MADRID, 16 Nov.

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Laia Sanz, before her second Dakar in cars: "We have good ingredients to take a step forward"


The Spanish driver Laia Sanz will face her second Dakar Rally in 2023, to be held in Saudi Arabia in January 2023, in cars with "good ingredients to improve and take a step forward", thanks to a car and a team, the Astara Team , "more competitive", after a first year "learning" on four wheels.

"I am very happy to have joined the Astara Team. After a first year of learning, this year it was clear that I had to take a step forward, with a more competitive team and car. We have good ingredients to improve and take a step forward. "Sanz expressed during the presentation of the Astara Team at its headquarters.

The Catalan will be part of a team that is also living its second year in the demanding event, together with Carlos Checa, who is also debuting in Astara, and Óscar Fuertes, who already competed with the team in the last edition.

During the presentation event, Sanz highlighted his improvement with the cars in this course after its debut in 2022 at the Dakar Rally. "Last year it was time to take the step. I had already bought many lottery numbers... It was the perfect moment. This year I am taking the right steps to take a step forward in terms of results, I have improved a lot with the cars", he highlighted, before stressing the importance of the co-driver, who in his case will be Maurizio Gerini.

"It's not easy to find a good co-driver, his role is important. They are my eyes in the race. We've known each other since the days of the motorcycle and he was already sailing well. It's also important to get along, without a good 'feeling' it wouldn't be good. It is important that there is good harmony," he said.

Then it was the turn of Carlos Checa, former motorcycling driver, with 27 victories in the World Championship and Superbike world champion. Now, he arrives "very excited" and with "hopes to grow at a sporting level" in his second Dakar with the Astara Team.

"You have two more wheels, it's not that complicated. The Dakar was something I was passionate about. This year is a step further in all aspects, the performance is much better. We will try to be more competitive. More than going from the bike to the car, It is the philosophy of the Dakar. Sometimes you have to go slowly to go fast, and that is sometimes difficult. It is part of the challenge, we will try to be effective", he analyzed regarding his options.

Finally, Óscar Fuertes, who was already part of the debut of the Astara Team in the Dakar Rally last year, confessed to being "very excited" because the team is "much bigger". "Laia and Carlos raise the bar," he admitted. "I think we can do it well, we are very grateful to everyone who has worked on the shadow to make this a reality," said the pilot, the cornerstone of the Astara project.

"We added 33 people displaced to Saudi Arabia -three mechanics per car-. In volume of people, we are among the largest Dakar teams. All the Dakars are new, you don't know the goal until you see the competition and finish the first stage. It will be a different Dakar from last year. Below 12, 15... It also depends on luck", he said about the objective in the tough race.

Regarding mileage, and with the autonomy of 500 kilometers of the new Astara, Fuertes advanced that they will have to "go out with a full tank in almost half of the days. The kilometers of the links will be reduced, that will be key. The mileage challenge will be a challenge for us and for everyone. We will go with the maximum fuel load, it will be one of the challenges this year," he said.

"I am very grateful to Sangyong, but that was five years ago, it is a different engine model, it has nothing to do with it. A single car on the Dakar is a huge risk, a team with three cars and these teammates is very important for ensure the best results", concluded Fuertes.

Like last year, the Astara 01 Concept will be powered by e-fuel, but this time it will use it at a rate of 90 percent (versus 70 percent last year). Likewise, the car has undergone some improvements -less weight, more power or the possibility of carrying a third spare wheel- which represents a step forward at a competitive level.

At the end of the Dakar, Astara Team will measure, report and compensate its carbon footprint -as was done in the last edition- following standardized measurement protocols (GHG Protocol and the ISO 14064 standard) that in 2023 will be extended to scope 1 , 2 and 3. That is, the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions of the equipment will be analyzed, as well as other indirect emissions generated by third parties involved in the event.