News 29 Apr 2023

Sanders charges to 2023 Sonora Rally victory

GasGas rider claims first Rally-Raid win at third round of series.

Image: Supplied.

Australia’s Daniel Sanders charged to victory at the 2023 Sonora Rally, taking three stage wins on his way to claiming the top step at round three of the FIM Rally-Raid World Championship.

Seven minutes ahead going into the final day of competition, and not having the pressure of being the first rider into the stage, the final day of competition at the Sonora Rally went exactly to plan for Sanders.

Hitting the front by the kilometre 35 mark, the Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing rider kept on pushing to the finish, picking up the day win and with it a first-ever world rally-raid victory. Despite missing round two of the rally-raid series, victory in Mexico lifts Sanders  to fifth in the championship standings.

“It’s great to get my first rally win,” Sanders explained. “It feels like it’s been a long time coming – obviously after a year off it’s great to be back where I want to be. Dakar’s the big one but getting wins in the world championship is also super important. I’ve had some bad luck with speed penalties and things like that in some events, so to finally get a world championship win means a lot to me.

“Also, I feel like I’ve ridden well this event, leading out on several days, and generally having a good run through the event. Yeah, after a year out and then getting sick at Dakar, it’s all heading in the right direction. I’m improving still, and thanks to the team who always give me a great bike I feel like things are really coming together now.”

Fellow Australian Toby Price (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) extended his FIM Rally-Raid World Championship after finishing the Sonora Rally in P4, notably winning stage four. Tosha Schareina (Honda) and Luciano Benavides completed the top three at the third round.