Dakar Rally – Stage Two
History was made on stage two of the Dakar Rally when Brit Sam Sunderland recorded his debut win.
It was all change on stage two of the Dakar Rally when HRC Honda’s Sam Sunderland broke through to claim his first ever stage win in the rally. Starting ninth on the road, Sunderland faired well as the field of riders navigated the early high-speed tracks.
But with the end of the stage featuring the first test of sand dunes the Brit improved to take over the lead and edged out runner-up Chaleco Lopez by 39 seconds. His win ensures HRC Honda remain planted at the head of the Dakar.
“I’m really happy,” told Sunderland. “The bike was fantastic. It’s been a great day with a mixture of different terrains, speed and technical zones. When we got to the dunes, it wasn’t a really long stretch, but it went well. I’m really pleased for my first Dakar victory and to continue Honda’s winning streak.”
Stage one winner Joan Barreda did not make the slightest mistake either. Opening the way, the Spaniard was not overawed by his status as race leader – keeping his pursuers at a distance before reaching the finishing line alone. His performance did not bring him the second stage win he was aiming for – due to Sunderland’s superb feat – but it was by no means disappointing.
Fifteenth on stage one, KTM’s Ruben Faria improved to set the fourth fastest time behind Sunderland, Lopez and Barreda on stage two.
Remaining solid as ever, Sherco’s Alain Duclos delivered another impressive result to take fifth with Aussie Ben Grabham (KTM) placing sixth.
The biggest surprises of the day came from both Marc Coma and Cyril Despres with both riders finishing over eight minutes behind Sunderland in ninth and tenth respectively. Coma hangs on to fifth overall in the rally but Despres drops to eighth.
Results – Dakar Rally Stage 2
1, Sam Sunderland, GBR, Honda 3 hours 42.10
2, Chaleco Lopez, CHL, KTM at 00.39
3, Joan Barreda, ESP, Honda at 2.00
4, Ruben Faria, PRT, KTM at 4.07
5, Alain Duclos, FRA, Sherco at 5.51
6, Ben Grabham, AUS, KTM at 7.15
7, David Casteu, FRA, KTM at 7.27
8, Paulo Goncalves, PRT, Honda at 8:10
9, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 8.23
10, Cyril Despres, FRA, Yamaha at 8:43
Overall after Stage 2
1, Barreda 6 hours 41 2, Lopez KTM, at 02.03 3, Sunderland at 02.33 4, Duclos at 05.47 5, Coma at 07.00