News 16 Jan 2017

KTM's Sunderland wins 2017 Dakar Rally

Australia's Smith and Hart 18th and 44th, respectively.

Source: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM’s Sam Sunderland claimed his first Dakar Rally win after wrapping up the final stage in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 14 January.

Kicking off in Paraguay on 2 January, the 2017 Dakar Rally saw competitors take on an extremely challenging two-week event with a range of new navigation and difficulty levels.

Entering the final 64 kilometre time special stage holding a 33-minute advantage, Sunderland crossed the line in sixth position to comfortably top the overall timesheets after almost 9,000 kilometres of racing.

It was an emotional victory for the British rider who felt the weight on his shoulders during the final six days of the gruelling off-road event.

“When I crossed the line my emotions really took over,” said Sunderland. “I’ve had a lot of weight on my shoulders for the last six days. Now it feels incredible. I have to say thanks to my team, the bike has been great from start to finish.”

Sunderland stepped up and delivered for the Red Bull KTM squad after teammate and 2016 winner, Toby Price of Australia, went out in the fourth stage after crashing and breaking his leg in four places.

“When Toby went out of the race it was a blow to the team as he’s a good friend,” he added. “Because of the strong bonds we have in our team it helped us to pull together and strive to do something special. There’s a lot of fast guys that have the potential to win this race, I think cutting out the mistakes was the key to this win.”

Coming home in second position was fellow KTM contender, Matthias Walkner, followed by Gerard Farres Guell, Adrien Van Beveran and Joan Barreda rounding out the top five.

Australia’s Todd Smith finished up his 2017 Dakar Rally campaign with a strong 18th place finish along with fellow Aussie Matthew Hart taking home a 44th overall finish.