Sam Sunderland – “I Gave It Everything To Win”
On course to claim his debut rally win, Brit Sam Sunderland leads the Merzouga Rally in Morocco as the race passes the halfway stage.
Claiming victory on stage four, Sunderland extended his lead in the rally.
With stage four marking the first leg of the marathon stage, the trail took riders across an array of mountain plateaus before concluding with 50km of soft sand dunes.
Sunderland, who placed an impressive fifth overall in last week’s OiLibya Rally of Morocco, continued to grow from strength to strength and beat teammate Helder Rodrigues by almost seven minutes to win the stage.
“It’s been an incredible day today,” told Sunderland. “I was on top form and set out to win from the beginning. I know that Hélder wanted to win the stage too, but I still hadn’t won so I gave it everything.”
With navigation proving a vital part in the outcome of today’s stage, the Team HRC rider focused hard during the early part of the day to ensure a mistake free run.
“I started second behind Frans Verhoeven but I think he made a navigation mistake as I was riding alone.
“In the first part of the stage I focused a lot on the navigation – I wanted to be accurate and I pushed on when I certain that I was on the right path.”
With just two stages left to run, Sunderland now holds a massive 27-minute advantage over his closest rival Olivier Pain and edges ever nearer to his debut rally win.
Brits Lloyd Oliver and Lyndon Poskitt placed 17th and 20th respectively with Ireland’s Gordon Clarke 27th.