Sunderland tops stage seven while Dakar race tightens
Brabec leads as Price maintains third in overall classification.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland has taken out stage seven of the 2019 Dakar Rally, while the race for the crown has tightened with the event witnessing another change of lead, with Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team) shooting to the top of the standings.
Stage seven was all about the 323-kilometre timed special, although the day’s racing was delayed and also halted momentarily midway through, due to fog causing safety issues for the competitors.
Sunderland stormed through the day to record a 3h51m41s time, just 1m51s ahead top three newcomer Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Monster Energy Honda Team). Brabec was third ahead of Adrien van Beveren (Yamalube Yamaha Rally) and Luciano Benavides (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), while Australian Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was eighth in the stage.
Overall in the classification it’s Brabec from van Beveren, Price, Sunderland and former leader Pablo Quintanilla (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing), who faced difficulties being the first rider out in stage seven to lodge a 14th place result.
Aussie Dakar rookie Ben Young (KTM) is now ranked 63rd after finishing up 70th in the stage, while compatriot James Ferguson (KTM) was able to re-enter the event, winding up 92nd for an 81st ranking. Rodney Faggotter (Yamalube Yamaha Rally) was ruled out of the competition earlier in the event.
Stage eight of the rally, the ‘Super Ica’ will see the top 10 bikes, cars and the top five trucks set off in their finishing order from the previous day. As the fastest competitor from all classes, Sam Sunderland will have the task of opening the track. The total distance travelled for the day will be 575 kilometres, 360 of which is a timed special.