Cristina Gutierrez: a lady driver on the Dakar
There is an overwhelming domination of male competitors on the Dakar. Does that make the challenge even more exciting in your eyes?
“I’m only 26 but I feel confident and ready for the biggest challenge of my life: the Dakar. Of this year’s 525 participants, 11 are women, three of whom are Spanish. It’s a level playing field for both sexes, with several factors that come into play, from the car and its tires, to the weather, luck and strategy, so it’s not down to physical strength. Women are capable of winning the Dakar and I am proud to be representing my gender on this internationally acclaimed motorsport event.”
Why did you choose the Dakar? How much cross-country rallying experience do you have?
“I have been mad about driving since the age of four and I always like to learn and improve in different types of car. I started out in cross-country rallying when I was 18 and I have taken part in more than 50 events, in Spain and across the world. My dream was to do the Dakar and I reached the finish in 2017. This year, I’m back in a new Mitsubishi Montero thanks to the support of various backers. The Dakar is an object lesson in both driving competitively and life!”
One of your sponsors is BFGoodrich®. What role do tires play on an event like the Dakar?
“It’s incredible that such a high-profile brand as BFGoodrich® is helping me on this project. I would like to thank them for the confidence they have placed in me. BFGoodrich® has worked with the world’s very best drivers, so I am proud to be flying its colours and to be competing on such high-quality tires.
“It is vital to be able to count on tires that don’t give you any problems on the Dakar. Punctures can lead to car damage and lose you time. I have every confidence in the ability of BFGoodrich®’s tires to cope with the extreme temperatures, as well as with the punishing terrain and conditions we are sure to come across.”