World Cup winner Cristina Gutiérrez
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Rally Raid

From dentistry to Dakar hot seat, Cristina Gutiérrez gets it done

The Spanish dentist joins the 2022 Dakar Rally off the back of a World Cup winning season. Hear her journey in the latest episode of Beyond the Ordinary.
Written by Tim Sturtridge
3 min readPublished on
Cristina Gutiérrez is getting into the habit of rewriting the history books. She started 2021 by becoming the first female stage winner at the Dakar since Jutta Kleinschmidt’s last stage victory in 2005. Gutiérrez ends the year as the first female driver to win an FIA World Cup for the Cross-Country Rallies title.
However, these successful highlights tell only half the tale of an eventful 12 months for the Spanish racing driver. There were also the months of rehab after she broke her back while competing at Rally Kazakhstan in June.
“It was a very bad moment because I never had an injury like this,” reveals Gutiérrez. “In this moment, I felt a lot of pain in my stomach, in my back. So I knew that I had done something.”
Listen below to the latest instalment of the Beyond the Ordinary podcast series to find out how Gutiérrez summoned superhuman strength to keep her season on track. Then read on for more on the World Cup winner and hear the other voices featured in the podcast.

Cristina Gutiérrez

This year Gutiérrez has not only competed in a full FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies season but also in the inaugural Extreme E championship. As well as amassing an impressive amount of Air Miles, Gutiérrez usually ends up on the podium wherever she goes.
It’s all the more remarkable, therefore, that in addition to staying on the pace in two different driving series, the Spaniard also holds down a ‘regular’ job. When she’s not racing, Gutiérrez works in a dental practice in Barcelona.
“For me, it’s very natural, and my patients know all about my other career,” explains Gutiérrez. “I do my best to organise my week, so I have time for my patients and also for competitions.”

Jutta Kleinschmidt

Kleinschmidt is a legitimate legend of the Dakar Rally. The first and only female to win the rally, the German took victory in the car class in 2001.
Since 2019, Kleinschmidt has been the FIA’s President of its Cross-Country Rally Commission, making her one of the most influential people involved in the Dakar. In addition to this, she raced in this season’s Extreme E, coming up against Gutiérrez’s skills behind the wheel.
Cristina Gutiérrez celebrates her first stage win in the Dakar Rally with Jutta Kleinschmidt during the 1st stage of the Dakar 2021 between Jeddah and Bisha, in Saudi Arabia on January 3, 2021.
Jutta Kleinschmidt and Cristina Gutiérrez
I held a camp a few years ago that was invited women to try out cross-country rallying. Cristina was one of the girls that came along, and she performed very, very well
Jutta Kleinschmidt

François Cazalet

Cazalet became Gutiérrez’s co-driver when she joined the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team to race the 2021 Dakar. Since winning the opening stage of that Dakar, the pair have won rallies in Andalucia and Kazakhstan.
Gutiérrez and Cazalet sealed victory in the T3 category of this season’s FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The duo are now fully focused on achieving their aims at the upcoming Dakar.
“During this year, Cristina showed me many times that at points when normal people would give up, she is still on top and pushing,” says Cazalet. “I have a lot of respect for this.”
Cristina Gutiérrez and François Cazalet of Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team during Stage 5 of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on November 10, 2021
Gutiérrez and Cazalet on the dunes
Listen to the daring dentist taking on the Dakar Rally – Cristina Gutiérrez on Beyond the Ordinary from Red Bull, available on Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you listen to your podcasts.