Brit Triumphs in Dakar Rally
Dakar Rally: Sam Sunderland Wins Dakar 2017
Sam Sunderland becomes first British rider to win the famous Dakar Rally race.
Sunderland, who was born in Poole, is based in Dubai where he trains on the sand dunes of the UAE.
Sam Sunderland became the first British competitor to win the Dakar Rally when he took victory in the motorbikes classification on Saturday.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve worked so hard, and so have the team”
The 27-year-old, from Dorset, came home 32 minutes ahead of nearest competitor Matthias Walkner of Austria after the final stage in Argentina.
The KTM rider, who is based in Dubai, took the lead after stage five of 12.
The 38th edition of the rally began in Asuncion, Paraguay and ran through Bolivia and Argentina.
In 2014, Sunderland became the first British rider to win a stage of Dakar since John Deacon in 1998.
This was his third attempt at winning the rally, having been forced to retire in 2012 and 2014 with mechanical problems. The 2016 winner, Toby Price of Australia, pulled out of this year’s race during the fourth stage.
“When I crossed the line I felt all the emotion hit me. The weight on my shoulders of the race over the last week, leading the rally, has been really heavy,” said Sunderland.
“It’s been difficult, especially in some of the moments with navigation mistakes or when things get stressful, to stay calm. But we’re here, we did it, and I couldn’t be any happier.”
Sunderland secured victory after safely navigating the final special stage, a 40-mile race into the Argentine town of Rio Cuarto.
It is the 16th year in a row that KTM have won the motorbike title.
French driver Stephane Peterhansel held off the challenge of compatriot Sebastien Loeb to win his seventh cars title. He has also won the bikes title six times.
Watch exclusive video highlights from the 2017 DAKAR RALLY, featuring Red Bull KTM factory riders Sam Sunderland, Matthias Walkner and Laia Sanz.
Final Result: 32h06m22s