Santa Catarina is the first Brazilian to compete as a driver in the Dakar rally

The 2023 edition of the Dakar rally, held in Saudi Arabia and considered the largest in the world, has, for the first time, a Brazilian driver. Pâmela Bozzano, 33, from Santa Catarina, competes in the Light Prototypes category, alongside navigator Carlos Sachs.

Pâmela was a racewalking athlete and has participated in rally events since 2020. Last year, she won the RN1500 and Jalapão rallies, in addition to the traditional Sertões Rally, the latter with her husband, Ênio Bozzano, as a navigator. The disputes were in the category of UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles, or multitasking utility vehicles, in English translation).

“My husband asked me if I wanted to be his navigator. I liked the idea, but I soon realized that I wanted to accelerate, brake… Really drive. He liked the idea, encouraged me and found a car to test. Jalapão, a desert in Tocantins, to compete in my first race”, recalls the pilot, in a press release.

Before Santa Catarina, journalist Leilane Neubarth made history in 1999, when she was the first Brazilian to compete in the Dakar. At the time, Leilane was the navigator of a crew that had André Azevedo as pilot and Czech Tomas Tomecek as mechanic.

Pâmela is one of the 51 women entered in the Dakar. France, with 12 participants, is the country with the most representatives. The Santa Catarina category, in turn, has the most runners: ten, among them, the Spanish Cristina Gutierrez, who, in 2020, became the first female competitor to win a stage of the rally, after 16 years.

With three days remaining for the end of this Dakar edition, Pâmela and Carlos are in 34th place in the Light Prototypes classification. In this Thursday’s stage (12), in which 427 kilometers (km) were covered, they were in 27th place. The general classification of the category has, in the lead, the partnership of the Brazilian navigator Gustavo Gugelmin with the North American pilot Austin Jones, champion in 2022 in the category of UTVs. The duo of Ênio (pilot) with Luciano Gomes (navigator) occupies the 36th position.

in the fight

In the car category – the main one for the Dakar, with 73 entries – the vehicle driven by the Brazilian Lucas Moraes, with navigation by the German Timo Gottschalk, is in vice-leadership, about an hour and 21 minutes behind the partnership of the Qatari Nasser Al- Attiyah with Frenchman Mathieu Baumel, current champion of the race. This Thursday, Lucas and Gottschalk finished the stage in fourth place, one post ahead of Al-Attiyah and Baumel. The victory went to the duo formed by the French Sébastien Loeb (owner of nine world rally titles) and the Belgian Fabian Lurquin.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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