Sunderland rebounds as Price gains momentum at Dakar
Australian initially credited third in stage prior to five-minute penalty.
Red Bull KTM’s reigning Dakar Rally champion Sam Sunderland is back atop the 2018 rankings after a pivotal victory in stage three of the event, comprising a 296km special followed by a 208km liaison.
Sunderland moved up through the order as the day went on and, riding consistently, he posted a fastest time of just over 3h20m. That was over three minutes quicker than Honda duo Kevin Benavides and Ricky Brabec.
Australia’s 2016 Dakar winner Toby Price was flying straight from the start of Monday’s timed special. He placed second at the first waypoint, just nine seconds behind teammate Sunderland. A crash three quarters of the way into the stage cost him a few minutes, but Price continued, eventually posting the third-fastest time.
Unfortunately, a five-minute penalty relegated him to 10th position at the end of the day. That demoted him from fourth overall down to eighth, now eight and a half minutes from outright leader Sunderland in these early stages.
Fellow Aussie Rodney Faggotter (Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team) was 18th in the stage and now sits 21st overall, as countryman Scott Britnell (Grit Adventures KTM) was 74th in the stage and is now 77th overall.
Tuesday’s fourth stage of the Dakar Rally will see riders begin their day with a sprint along the beach at San Juan de Marcona. The riders will then head back into the dunes for one of the most difficult sand sections of the rally, where the total distance covered will be 444km – 330km of which is timed special.