Follow Us

Laia Sanz, Tatiana Calderón, Ana Carrasco… Champions who break down barriers

Laia Sanz, Tatiana Calderón, Ana Carrasco… Champions who break down barriers

On January 6, the inaugural stage of the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally will bring together the 343 vehicles entered in the legendary event in Lima. From there they will leave in search of the goal, set on the 20th in Córdoba (Argentina), after passing through some of the most surprising places in Peru and Bolivia.

The almost 9,000 kilometers, divided into fourteen stages, summarize the difficulty of the adventure that will be faced by more than three hundred pilots, from 54 different nationalities. Only eleven of them, however, will be female. That figure exemplifies the difficult access of women to motor tests.

The barrier of equality is about to be broken in the Dakar Rally. Also in the Formula One and MotoGP World Championships. No woman appears on their grids, nor in the World Rally Championship, although there are several who demand a growing number of opportunities with great results.

Colombian Tatiana Calderón, development driver for the Sauber Formula One team, shone with her appearance on the podium in the last round of the World Series Formula V8 3.5, in Bahrain.

2017 is also a special year in Ana Carrasco’s curriculum. On September 17, the Spanish became the first woman to win a world championship speed motorcycle race with her victory in Portimao (Portugal), in the Supersport 300 category.

More regularly the milestones of his compatriot Laia Sanz, known in South America as “the Queen of the Dakar”.

The Barcelona woman was ninth in the general classification in 2015. That is the best result of a woman in the motorcycle category. It is surpassed by the German Jutta Kleinschmidt, champion in cars in 2001, when the Dakar Rally was held on the African continent.

Indeed, Laia Sanz challenged the tradition on Moroccan soil. While preparing the assault on the Dakarian event, the Catalan (thirteen times winner of the Trial World Championship and five in the Enduro World Championship) achieved the best result of a woman in the World Cross-Country Rally, being third in the second stage of the Rally of Morocco. .

“If they told me ten years ago that I was going to be where I am now, competing in the Dakar Rally with an official team and dedicating myself one hundred percent to this, I would think it was a joke,” acknowledges Laia Sanz in an interview with EFE.

You can also read:  Rosberg dominates Brazilian GP trials

His desires have been changing while his development as a pilot has taken place. «I remember that my goal in the first year was to finish. Now is to do it well, “he exposes.

She did it in the last editions “of the toughest rally in the world” and faces her eighth participation being aware that “people expect a lot” from her.

“Especially after ninth place in 2015,” he points out.

Far from being swallowed up by expectations, the Red Bull KTM Factory team rider prefers to embrace them with motivation.

“It is an honor that other girls notice me and have me as an example. If I am happy about something, more than the titles, it is to have made things a little easier for other girls who come after them », she confesses.

Cristina Gutiérrez is one of them. The woman from Burgos, the first Spanish woman to finish the Dakar Rally in cars (2017), has one of her references in Laia Sanz. The other is María de Villota.

“When I met her, in a BMW course at her school, I fell in love with her way of seeing life,” explains Cristina Gutiérrez to EFE. “Maria shone wherever she passed and I love having her always present, that’s why I wear her star on my helmet and in my car,” she abounds, excited, when remembering her figure.

María de Villota, the fighter with the eternal smile, died on October 11, 2013. There were only a few hours left for her speech at the congress’ What really matters’, in Seville, and a few days for the presentation of her book ‘La life is a gift ‘.

Life granted her an extension of a year and a half after the serious accident she suffered at Duxford aerodrome while training with the Marussia Formula One team.

He lost his right eye. He held back his smile.

If away from the track her joy and optimism were contagious, on the asphalt she convinced the most skeptical that a woman could achieve her dreams in the motor world.

You can also read:  Montezemolo: "Ferrari never gives up"

“That I have reached Formula One is very important for karting girls, I think. For them it is important to have a figure to look at. Maybe they are not projected in the same way in a boy. It is important that they see that they can achieve it and that they want to try it, ”María de Villota used to comment.

Tatiana Calderón was captivated by his smile. The Colombian is a development driver for the Sauber team and is confident of getting a place on the grid. «It has been forty years since a woman competed in Formula One. Forty years! Those are many years without women! ”Tatiana Calderón laments.

She began to carve a niche for herself in the elite of the motoring since its inception in European Formula 3.

“I’m going step by step, without much effort, but with the aim of getting to compete in Formula One,” warns the Bogota woman.

In the last year he already worked on the simulator for Sauber. His next challenge is to take the wheel of a car, either in free practice or in the race.

“I think I can do it very well and I’m not going to give up until I do it. I know that there are only 20 official pilots in the world, but I think that by working hard things will come, “he asserts.

With his own example and with initiatives such as ‘Dare to the different’, promoted by Susie Wolff, or the project of the International Federation of Motoring ‘FIA Women in Motorsport’, Tatiana Calderón hopes that “in the future there will be more women starting from karting” so that their appearances in major competitions will no longer be anecdotal.

“Girls should know that this is a sport where we can compete hand in hand with men,” she says during her visit to the EFE Agency headquarters in Madrid.

His vision is shared by the president of the Royal Spanish Federation of Motoring, Manuel Avignon. “It is in motorsports that gender equality can be justified the most. There are no specific women’s leagues and, therefore, women fight face to face with men ”, agrees the leader.

Recruitment of more girls has become one of the federation’s priorities. In fact, at the I Féminas Off Road Campus held in Teruel, ten young drivers were able to train in subjects such as navigation, driving and physical and psychological preparation.

You can also read:  Sacrificed Deep Impact, one of Japan's best racehorses

“We already have several girls who, as a result of the campus, are going to make the leap to the competition next year. Camaraderie is generated between them and in the end the illusion is what leads them to take the step and enter this world, ”Aviñó emphasizes.

Its purpose is “to get the maximum possible impact on all actions” so that women gain “presence in the world of motoring«. «I think that is how the number of licenses will grow. In the last five years, however, the presence of women has already increased by ten points ”, he analyzes.

In major events, however, the figure of women continues to be diminished.

“It is obvious that Formula One does not have the presence of any woman. In the World Rally Championship there has not been a successor to the level of the French Michèle Mouton, who won several rounds of the World Championship. This shows that it is a sport mainly for men, but I am happy to see that women are having a greater role, also outside the sports area. Spain has a good commissioner, who is currently performing in the GP2 Series, which is Silvia Bellot, “he presumes.

For the president of the Royal Spanish Federation of MotoringIn fact, the progress of sport happens “because any girl looks up and has a place to reflect.”

“It is very difficult that, on their own initiative, many of the girls who are starting karting today have the illusion of being able to participate in competitions if they do not have a person to follow,” he says.

Sara García, from Zamora, for example, will try to emulate Rosa Romero and Laia Sanz in 2019 with her first participation in the Dakar Rally. That wait is over for Fernanda Kanno.

“By the time I cross the starting line on the 6th in my native Lima, I will have already shown that dreams can be fulfilled and that anyone can achieve it,” celebrates the Peruvian. EFE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

43 − = 35