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The Plaza sisters: “Men liked cars more and women liked other things, that is changing”

The sisters Monica (1995) and Marta Plaza (2001) they were born predestined to succeed in the world of rallying. Daughters of Manolo Plaza -one of the most experienced Spanish drivers in the Dakar-, they lived from the cradle the exciting world of off-road events, and now, for the first time officially, they will form as a team (driver and co-driver) facing to the Spanish Rally Championship (CERTT) with the team Avatel Racing Team.

Mónica, with several years of experience behind the wheel, and Marta, with a lot of work as co-driver, began their first adventure together after the resounding victory they achieved last year at the Cuenca rally, where the usual companion could not be. of the eldest of the sisters, David Nadal. After the presentation of the exciting project, last Tuesday, both expressed their desire to start the competition in a joint interview with 20 minutes.

Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine crew chief

How are they? How do you face this season together?Monica: Well, very good, happy, with great enthusiasm. This year we changed categories, we changed cars and there is that extra of competing with my sister… it is impossible not to have motivation and enthusiasm.

There are many changes… How do you work to adapt?Mn.: The car is going to change a lot because last year’s was a series category, very heavy, and the way of driving it consisted more of learning to brake it and being very careful to preserve the mechanics. This year the way of driving changes, it becomes much more attacking.

Regarding the change of co-driver, I have to mention the help of David Nadal, who has accompanied me these two years ago, and I am super grateful for all his work. And adapting to Marta… I think it will be the easiest because everything worked very well in Cuenca, we know each other very well and I already saw his way of working, which surprised me for the better.

That extra of competing with my sister… it is impossible not to have motivation and illusion.

They are kept in All Terrain mode, what is so special about it?Mn.: Well, I think that the essence of this discipline is not knowing, because in gravel rallies you know where you are going, they are short stages and you have recognized the terrain. This is more of resistance and you don’t know what can happen, because you have a guide but as the cars and motorcycles pass by, the terrain changes and you can find any type of danger that is not marked.

What advantages and disadvantages do you see in this opportunity to compete together?Mn.: The advantage is the complicity we have, and I think the disadvantage is the same, overconfidence.
Marta: In the end it comes from the values ​​that have been instilled in you at home, which in this case are the same (laughs), you have to have respect for the person next to you, have more or less confidence, and work in the way as professional as possible, because in the end we are the image of a company that is betting a very important budget on us.

Did you fight a lot when you were little or have you always been a team?Mt.: Young and old (laughs).
Mn.: We have always argued, but we have matured and we are more of a team. When she’s upset about anything, I’m there and that’s kind of the key.
Mt.: In some aspects we are very similar, but in others we are very different, so that is where we crash, but when we are racing we are pilot and co-pilot, we are professionals to know where we are.

The advantage is the complicity that we have, and I believe that the disadvantage is the same, that excess of confidence.

What is the goal this year?Mn.: After a year in which I have touched the first drawer, the goal is to try to win the national in T1.

The Cuenca TT Rally has disappeared from the calendar this year, bad news not being able to return home, where they also triumphed together, right?Mt.: It’s a pity for everyone who likes All Terrain, for those who compete and for those who don’t, because in the end it’s the quintessential race of the Championship. A lot of people follow her, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining, cold or hot, a lot of people from the province always follow her. Even if it is the last one on the calendar and some have a tight budget or have nothing to play for, they are always on the run. It’s a pity for everyone.

What role does Avatel have in promoting women in the motor world?Mn.: Well, Avatel has an essential role for me to have been able to pick up a flyer, which is an opportunity in a million, I am aware and I value it very much. Two years ago I also had another pilot partner and without support like the ones they have given us it would be impossible for me to be competing as a pilot now.
It is very nice that there are references in little boys and girls and thanks to Avatel it is getting a little further. As its philosophy says, “to get where others can’t”, I think that’s what’s beautiful and emotional about Avatel supporting this project.

The objective is to try to win the national in T1.

Is it more difficult for a woman than for a man to make his way in the motor world?Mn.: The problem in our sport is the economy, because in the end the budgets are very high. Men have always liked cars more and women liked other things, that is changing, and I think that for people who want to start and do not have financial resources it is just as difficult, I think that It is more a matter of taste and budget.

In motor sports the conditions are the same for men and women. Are motor disciplines an example for other sports?Mt.: Yes, the truth is that physically we compete one on one, there is no distinction between boys and girls, something unthinkable in other sports. In motorsport we can fight and we do it one on one and I think it’s very good to talk about equality.

Do you feel like an example?Mn.: Fortunately, yes, but it is something that also creates a lot of responsibility for me, because I have already begun to receive messages from parents that their children are writing essays on Mónica Plaza for Women’s Day. It’s nice, but, on the other hand, it’s also a responsibility and if you’re having a bad day you have to be careful what you post on social media or what you say in an interview if a race hasn’t turned out the way you want. You have to be aware that you are an example.

In motorsport we can fight and we do it one on one and I think it’s very good to talk about equality.

Do you share a dream?Mn.: Well, everyone who runs this discipline dreams of the Dakar, but obviously the resources needed for that are very high and you also have to keep your feet on the ground.

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