Laia Sanz is a racer who knows about perseverance. Besides her multiple trials championships and enduro competition, she’s ridden motorbikes at the Dakar Rally every year since 2011. Even though she hasn’t won a Dakar Rally yet, she’s made it to the finish line every single time.
That’s no small feat, especially when you consider that she competed in the 2021 Dakar right after battling with Lyme disease throughout 2020. During the 2020 Dakar, she had a nasty run-in with the Epstein-Barr virus, which also sapped valuable strength and physical resources. Still, through it all, Sanz made her bikes perform, through sheer force of will.
An important part of having a successful motorsport career is knowing when it’s time for a change. Thus, Laia Sanz announced that while she does plan to compete in the 2022 Dakar Rally, it won’t be on any motorcycle. This time, she says, it will be on four wheels instead of two.
This isn’t a decision that Sanz made lightly. She’s a dedicated, thoughtful athlete, and has been planning to make this move for some time. Competing in the electric Extreme E series with WRC legend Carlos Sainz as her teammate has been just one of the most recent pieces of the puzzle.
She announced her decision at an event arranged by one of her sponsors, KH-7. In early October, 2021, Sanz said, “It was a difficult decision, but I think it was the right time to make a change. You become more aware of the risk and, besides, the last two years have not been easy at all because of my health. I probably didn't arrive at the Dakar as prepared as I would have liked and I didn't enjoy it as much.”
“In the end I'm not 20 years old and it's an ideal time to start making a change. I'm sure I'll miss it, but it's a time of learning and experiencing new things that motivates me a lot,” she continued.
Besides Extreme E, Sanz made her World Rallycross debut over the weekend at Spa. Earlier in the year, she contested the Baja Dubai, as well as the Andalusia Rally. Please bear in mind that she did all this while she was also returning to the FIM Women’s Trial World Championship in 2021. Clearly, to say that Sanz has been keeping busy would be among the biggest understatements of the year.
While Sanz has yet to give details on what kind of four-wheeled vehicle she’ll be tackling the 2022 Dakar in, we wish her all the best going forward—no matter how many wheels are involved.