Carlos Checa and Laia Sanz drive Astara to make Dakar more sustainable

The Astara team, made up of drivers Carlos Checa, Oscar Fuertes and Laia Sanz “Excited” faces the next Dakar where it will compete with three 01 Concept cars powered by 100% sustainable synthetic gasoline and whose main novelty, in addition to improved performance , is the performance boost.

Powered by a new 100% environmentally friendly synthetic fuel, the three Astara 01 Concepts were developed from the Century CR6. The rear-wheel drive is a 4×2 buggy, the maximum curb weight of 1,590 kilograms, 331 kW and more than 500 kilometers of autonomy in the race.

As novelties, the car has 15% more power, SADEV gearbox, three spare wheels, self-inflating system and RS3 suspension system.

The driver Carlos Checa (i) and his co-driver Marc Sola (r) during the presentation of the Astara team for the Dakar Rally this Wednesday in Alcobendas, Madrid.

Sergio Perez / EFE

Carlos Checa-Marc Sola

Carlos Checa, Superbike World Champion in 2011 and a rider with 26 victories in the motorcycle world, has already benefited from the experience of last year’s Dakar.

“Things came together to be part of the project and we hope to grow on the sporting front. Last year I really enjoyed it and now I’m competing in better conditions. The Dakar was something I fell in love with, I did some motorcycle rallies, but then I changed to live the Dakar adventure from a different position,” he said.

Marc Sola, Carlos Checa’s co-pilot, has competed in the Dakar seven times, competing in 7 Dakars, four on motorcycles and three on SSV.

“It is a great privilege to have this opportunity at Astara. When Carlos Checa called me, I didn’t think twice and now we’re going to try and fight for what we want,” Sola said during the presentation in Madrid, at Astara’s headquarters.


Oscar Fuertes (i), his co-driver Oscar Vallejo (2i) Laia Sanz (3d), his co-driver Maurizio Gerini (3i), Carlos Checa (2d) and his co-driver Marc Sola (d) during the presentation of the Astara team

Sergio Perez / EFE

Laia Sanz Mauricio Gerini

Laia Sanz, the 11-time winner of the Dakar Trophy Women’s and 14-time World Trials Champion, drove a car in the latest edition of the Dakar, the X-Raid Mini JCW Rally. In 2023, this 01 Concept will need four-wheel drive again.

“This year, after tackling the Dakar with the aim of finishing the last edition, I realized I had to take a step forward to drive a competitive car and I think there are some good ingredients I can improve on” , he said.

“I am glad I took the step. I’ve been riding motorcycles for eleven years, bought many lottery numbers and so far everything has gone well. This year I am taking good steps to take a step forward in terms of results, I have improved a lot in the cars and I want to keep evolving and improving,” said Laia, who will drive with Maurizio Gerini as a co-driver.

“It’s not easy to find a good copilot. Who drives the car is important, but who navigates and also says where the dangers are. You are fleeing my eyes. We’ve known each other since our motorcycle days. Character is also important and if there was no harmony it wouldn’t work, even if you were the best driver,” the Spanish driver emphasized.


The driver Laia Sanz during the presentation of the Astara team for the Dakar Rally this Wednesday in Alcobendas, Madrid. EFE/Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez / EFE

Oscar Fuertes Diego Vallejo

Oscar Fuertes, winner of the 2017 Dakar Challenge and 2011 Spanish rally champion, explained that with the arrival of Carlos Checa and Laia Sanz “the team has grown and you have gotten better”.

“We are very excited and we can do well. We have to leave with a full tank, but the number of specials will increase and the number of links will decrease. One of the challenges of this Dakar will be to control consumption,” said Fuertes, who will have Diego Vallejo at his side, who has participated in 405 rallies during his sporting career.

“Since the first Dakar there has been a good harmony. There’s a lot of trust, we tell each other unspeakable things, but it’s like I’m going with my best friend. I always say go with a friend and you can come back with a good friend or stop talking to you,” he said.

The Astara team travels to Saudi Arabia with 33 people, two trucks and three support vehicles, making it one of the largest delegations ever to compete in the four-wheeler category.


Drivers Oscar Fuertes, Laia Sanz and Carlos Checa together with their co-drivers Oscar Vallejo (i), Marc Sola (2i) and Maurizio Gerini at the presentation of the Astara team for the Dakar Rally

Sergio Perez / EFE

Source: La Neta Neta