History repeats itself. Cristina Gutiérrez has once again finished the world’s most demanding motor competition for the third consecutive year. She is the only Spanish driver that was able to finish the Dakar in the car category, this time in 26th place overall in general ranking at the wheel of her Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Her results show notable improvement over the previous two editions (38th place in 2018 and 44th in 2017), landing just shy of the top 25. Once again this year, hers was the first Mitsubishi vehicle to cross the finish line.
“We are very happy. The experience couldn’t have been better, because we felt perfectly comfortable with the car from the first second, and everything went great. There were just a few days where we had issues, and some penalties that I found excessive, which kept us from finishing higher up”, the driver explained before heading up to the podium in Lima.
Despite having been shut out of the top 25 by a mere 13.5 minutes, Cristina Gutiérrez insisted that the final result was quite positive: “Being only the third year at the Dakar Rally, 26th place overall is a win”.
The 2019 edition of the Dakar Rally was unusual, as it was shorter than previous years and ran entirely through a single country, which led to many sections having to be repeated various times. However, as the organisation had promised, it was also extremely difficult: “For me, it’s hard to say which Dakar Rally was the hardest because each year there has been a major vehicle change, but I do know that there were times when we really suffered”, Cristina admitted.
Throughout the entire Dakar Rally, Mitsubishi Spain’s official driver has shown a high level of dependability, committing less errors in this edition than ever before. A decisive contribution was made by her team, which of course includes her companion on this odyssey, Pablo Huete. This was his first Dakar Rally, where he demonstrated that, in addition to being a good mechanic, he’s also an exceptional co-pilot: “He was impeccable. Really amazing from the first day. I’m so thankful to him for all of the trust that he placed in me. He’s got a great future ahead of him”.
Pablo spoke of Cristina and her Dakar Rally in similar terms: “I have to thank her for the opportunity that she has given me, coming here and having this experience. It’s amazing how she works and drives. She’s shown that she can easily be among the top 20”.
Over the course of 55 hours, 56 minutes, and 14 seconds, Cristina Gutiérrez completed this 100% Peruvian Dakar Rally’s 3,096 timed kilometres. In addition to her 26th overall position, the driver also came in seventh in the T1.2 category (modified diesel 4×4 all-terrain), and first overall female car driver.
Finally, the Spanish driver wanted to thank all of the sponsors that have supported the project over these three years, as well as those that joined in this edition: “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do this Rally”. She also had a few words for her fans: “Thank you so much to all of you that have been sending me love and support every day. It has made me feel so encouraged.”