Women need to work hard to have the same opportunities as men. Motorsport is the typical example of this situation when it is largely dominated by men. Fortunetaly some great female racers have left their own marks through amazing performances. Jutta Kleinschmidt is one of them. She is the only woman who has won the Dakar Rally. Here is how she won the race.
We can’t get enough of success stories especially when it comes to women who are pionneers and icons of a whole discipline. Jutta Kleinschmidt has become the first and only female winner of a Dakar rally in 2001. It is great, isn’t it? Let me remind you the facts.
The first edition of Dakar rally took place in 1979 formerly known as the Paris-Dakar rally. France was generally the starting point of a race that crossed Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali to end to Dakar in Senegal. The drive to Dakar was very popular. Now you have an idea of the reason why the race was called the Paris-Dakar rally. In order to bring something new to the concept, the organizers decided in 2000 to shorten the name and they kept only Dakar. Spectators and participants came from different parts of the world to attend the annual event. And because of terrorist threats, the rally was moved to South America in 2009.
Jutta was born in Cologne, Germany, on August 29, 1962. She is the second child of a four daughters’ family. When she turned 18, she started dreaming about conquering the world and she bought her first motorbike. She studied general physics at school and after her diploma of engineer, she joined BMW Vehicle Engineering Development Department in Munich. The young lady is passionate about high performances motor vehicles and races. After six years of experience in BMW, she resigned from the organization to concentrate on her passion.
Opinions have always been mixed when it comes to the promotion of motorsport for women. Reasons lie in gender stereotypes. To justify their point of view, the sceptical minds evoke accident risks and high energetical needs as if women were only concerned by the situation. Jutta Kleinschmidt far from all these considerations decided to draw up her way to motorsport . After attending many other competitions, the german took part of her first Dakar rally piloting a BMW motorcycle in 1992. She won the female ranking and got a 23rd place in the general ranking. For the Dakar rally 1995, she changed her motorcycle for a Mitsubishi car.
Two years later, she became the first woman to claim a first stage victory in Dakar rally. In 1998, she is among the final Top three of car category. 2001 is the year of her greatest performance when she won her first Dakar rally. This was the first and only time for a woman to win this competition.
Her statistics are incredible. For 17 appearances to Dakar, Jutta ranked in the Top five six times. In 2007, she ended up her racing career to become a writer and speaker.
Jutta proves that even though biases have stick skin, it is possible to overtake them until the highest mountains. Boundaries and barriers can be broken by work, talent and determination. Every woman can realize her dreams if she really believe in them. And like our german champion said “Success is to have a goal and to achieve it!”