Cristina Gutiérrez steps up a gear
January 16 th 2019 - 04:56 [GMT -5]
Cristina Gutiérrez already exudes the temperament and reflexes of an old hand on the Dakar. The Spanish driver is taking part in her third rally, after two relatively conclusive experiences which she completed in 44th (in 2017) then in 39th position (in 2018).However, this young lady, driven by her competitive fibre in every thing she does, always wants more. This year, Cristina has well and truly stepped up a gear, by participating in a higher performance prototype, which has allowed her to extend her ambitions. “Last year, I was driving a production model and it didn’t go well at all. We arrived at the start of the specials with very little sleep in the tank. It was a Dakar for survivors,” she remembers. “This time, it’s totally different. We are happy with our pace, especially since it’s the first time that Pablo Moreno and I are driving together, and we are getting quicker and quicker. We’ve got the feeling that we are really competitive”. From all her 27 years of age, the quickest lady driver in the car category (who occupies 29th place in the general standings) in hindsight accepts the hazards, mishaps and setbacks of the rally, including when they disrupt her plans: “On stage five, we had a really rough time… We broke both radiators, at the front and rear. We had to wait several hours for our assistance truck in order to repair. In the end, we finished the stage at night. It was a real odyssey. It was a good thing that the stage was partly neutralised that day, otherwise we would have had to do 200 km more during the night”. On the route to Pisco, the duo again encountered misfortune, but were still broadly smiling on reaching the bivouac: “We broke the alternator belt, so we had to replace it with the spare, but that one broke too. We had to cut one in two to cover the last 50 kilometres at almost snail’s pace, but the main thing is that we reached the finishing line this evening. Anyway, I’ll get to the finish even if I have to push the car”.