The Spanish girl’s fuel tank was holed, leaving her without fuel 30 kilometres from the finish.
Marc Guasch stopped to transfer fuel from his bike to Laia’s, but this cost them a lot of time.
Laia had moved up 24 places at the time of the incident.
A complicated day for Laia Sanz. The 11 times Women’s Trial World Champion finished the fourth stage (San Juan – Chilecito) in 86th place, the result of a fall at kilometre 210 of the special, out of the 326 timed.
Last year’s winner in the women’s class in the Dakar had the bad luck that her fuel tank was holed when she fell and a little later she found herself out of fuel.
As Laia Sanz told us when she arrived at the finish: “I fell in a very silly place, but with the bad luck that there were a lot of stones. The bike fell on the front tank, which broke so that I was losing fuel. Then I went on with the rear tank, until I ran out 30 km from the end. I had to transfer fuel from Marc’s bike using the camelbak tube and we lost a lot of time. Then the cars started passing us and we found ourselves in a complicated panorama with a lot of dust and not much visibility. It was a very bad day, and I also damaged a hand”.
Until that point, the Gas Gas rider had been doing extraordinarily well in a stage that was “very tough and complicated” in her own words. “At the beginning we were going very well because there was a place with a dry riverbed where a lot of people got lost, but Marc and I found the right line and so we were able to win many places”.
Laia had moved up 24 places from her 69th at the start, which augured well for another outstanding performance like the day before in the third stage, when she finished in 35th place. In spite of this great result, the race officials considered that she had missed a way point - as did around twenty riders - and they penalised her 40 minutes, which explained her very low starting position in today’s stage.
Marc Guasch crossed the line in 89th place, logically after having stopped to help Laia with the transfer of fuel. “It had to be done. It’s a shame because we were doing very well, and at that point we were not going very fast. My task today was to try to restrain Laia so that she did not go too fast, because this Dakar is turning out to be extremely tough and I did not want anything to happen. Laia is showing that she is a sportswoman without equal. There are not many people who can physically withstand the tough conditions of a Dakar and she makes it look easy”, said the Gas Gas rider.
In the general classification Laia is now 66th, while Guasch is 68th.