Rally Raid

Get up to speed with how Cristina Gutiérrez won the Dakar Rally

We caught up with Cristina Gutiérrez as she celebrated her historic Dakar Rally victory – learn how she became the first female driver to win the world’s toughest off-road event since 2001.
Written by Agata Strausa
3 min readPublished on
Cristina Gutierrez (ESP) and Pablo Moreno Huete (ESP) race during stage 10 of Rally Dakar 2024 from Al Ula to Yambu, Saudi Arabia on January 18, 2024.
© Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
A historic day at the Dakar Rally saw Cristina Gutiérrez win the Challenger class with her co-driver, Pablo Moreno. The Spanish off-road trailblazer becomes the first female driver to win the Dakar since Jutta Kleinschmidt in 2001.
We caught up with Cristina right after her finish. It turns out the rally champion had little time to enjoy the moment, since she’ll be returning to her everyday job as a dentist. Here's the lowdown.
I will never forget this moment

Huge congrats, Cristina! What was going through your head when you finished – and right after you knew you had won?

Cristina Gutiérrez: It was an unbelievable moment. When I finished, I thought we finished in second place, which is still a good position. Then I saw our friend from Spain at the finish, and he was doing something with his hand, ‘Go, go, go, you can win.’ I didn’t understand. I was surprised to see everyone screaming and shouting that I might win. I felt a bit of pain for Mitch [Guthrie Jr], but also happiness - because for me, it was a dream come true. It was an amazing moment I will never forget.

Cristina Gutierrez (ESP) is seen at the finish line of Rally Dakar 2024 in Yambu, Saudi Arabia, on January 19, 2024.

Victory hugs for Cristina Gutiérrez

© Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

Who was the first person you called right after – or who called you?

I haven't called anyone yet (laughs). But I’ll reach out in my family chat group because everybody is going crazy. I just read some messages - they were following the race and commenting, 'Whoa, maybe Cris can win… she's 20 seconds ahead,’ so the first call is going to be my family, for sure!

I just went for it, throughout each one of the days, no matter what was happening behind me – or in front

Dakar was very tough. Was there any point when you thought, ‘We might not make it’?

I think every stage was crazy, especially the marathon one. It was 48 hours through the dunes. But we won this stage as well. We felt comfortable as a team from the beginning, and also in the car. I think that was very important. We felt really supported. I think that’s the most important thing – if you feel the support behind you, you can be stronger and more determined when driving.

Cristina Gutierrez Herrero (ESP) and Pablo Moreno Huete (ESP)for Red Bull Can-Am Factory Racing races during stage 8 of Rally Dakar 2024 from AL DUWADIMI to HAIL, Saudi Arabia on January 15, 2024.

Made it through all that sand

© Flavien Duhamel/Red Bull Content Pool

You’re known for being mentally very strong. Where does that come from?

I don’t know if I’m stronger – the only thing is that I’m the person who fights to the finish. In the world of motorsports, I started very small – I tried everything to get to Dakar. I was fighting for support, and I had to fight for sponsors. At my first Dakar race, the only goal was to finish. I spent a lot of time in the car – every night, and I always fought until the end. In this Dakar, I did the same: I just went for it, all the days, no matter what was happening behind me – or in front. I just focused on my race.

Cristina Gutierrez (ESP) is seen at the finish line of Rally Dakar 2024 in Yambu, Saudi Arabia on January 19, 2024.

Gutiérrez is the first woman to win Dakar in 23 years

© Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

What’s the plan now? Vacation?

I’ll try to do that, but I don’t have much time for holidays. I need to get back to work in my dental clinic, because my patients have been waiting for a month for me (laughs).

Thanks, Cristina, all the best!

Part of this story

Dakar Rally 2024

The 2024 Dakar Rally promises to be another epic rally-raid adventure over the sand dunes with a host of established global stars and talented young racers out to impress.

Cristina Gutiérrez

A naturally gifted driver, Spain's Cristina Gutiérrez is only the second woman to win the Dakar Rally after claiming Challenger class victory in 2024.