2017 Dakar Rally
Special: 219km (shortened due to weather)
Britain’s Sam Sunderland has become the fifth different rider this year to win a Dakar Rally stage in just five days with the Red Bull KTM rider keeping a level head to claim the shortened 219km special 7m09s quicker than HRC’s Paulo Gonçalves. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna), Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha), Matthias Walkner (KTM) as well as Joan Barreda (HRC) who started the day’s special with a lead of more than 18 seconds in the general standings, all suffered navigational woes in the dunes and lost considerable time.
Barreda also copped a one-hour time penalty for refuelling in an unauthorised zone which has dropped the one-time leader down to 12th overall, 1h12m39s behind Sunderland who has taken over at the top of the overall raking.
The beneficiary of shake-up was French rider Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha) who finished third quickest in the stage and whose result means he now also sits in third place in the overall rankings.
Australian KTM rider Todd Smith stayed on course and finished a highly credible 15th place in the fifth day, posting a quicker stage time than the likes of regular front runners Walkner, de Soultrait and Barreda. The result now elevates the 31-year old debutant into 17th place overall.
Aussie Husqvarna rider Matthew Hart had a tough day finishing 109th from the remaining 111 riders, and now currently sits 62nd in the overall standings.
After five days, the top Honda rider is currently Gonçalves down in 10th overall some 1h08.21s behind the leader.
Sunderland (GBr) 1st 1st
Gonçalves (Por) 2nd 10th
Van Beveren (Fra) 3rd 3rd
Quintanilla (Por) 7th 2nd
Smith (Aus) 15th 17th
Hart (Aus) 109th 62nd