Sanders Dakar plans confirmed with Red Bull GasGas team
Australian rally contender remains in team alongside champion Sunderland.
The 2023 Dakar Rally plans of Daniel Sanders have been officially confirmed, with the Australian to contest the event with Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing in a bid for the coveted title.
Sanders was on course for a podium result at the event this year, winning two stages – GasGas mounted – before a fall during the opening liaison of stage seven resulted in a fractured left elbow and wrist, ruling him out of further contention.
Despite the injuries requiring surgeries and extensive time to heal, Sanders did make a return to domestic competition in Australia and was victorious in the 2022 Penrite Hattah Desert Race, marking his second title at the prestigious event.
After a year of recovering his physical condition, Sanders is ready for the 14-stage event and will be looking to build as the rally progresses, with the goal of being in the mix at the finish.
“After this year’s Dakar and of course crashing on stage seven, it’s been a long year of surgeries and trying to get my body back in shape,” Sanders explained. “I had a lot of bad luck with my recovery and things not healing up so good, but thankfully it’s all looking good now and I’ve been able to get back on the bike.
“It’s going to be a challenge going into one of the toughest races in the world without much time on the bike. The focus up to now has been to get my elbow strong enough to make it through Dakar and the rest of the 2023 season. The team have been great, and I’m getting stronger all the time. It’s a little daunting with the Dakar being my first race back after a season off, but my plan is to take it day by day and hopefully build things up as the event goes on. It’s a long race, but the goal is to definitely be well in the fight at the finish.”
Alongside Sanders in Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing will be 2022 Dakar Rally winner and FIM World Rally-Raid champion Sam Sunderland, as the 45th Dakar Rally begins on 31 December this year in Saudi Arabia.