x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Sam Sunderland optimistic after winning second stage at Dakar Rally

The Dubai-based driver aims to finish strong at the race after winning Monday's 359km-stage with a time of 3 hours, 42 minutes and 10 seconds.

Sam Sunderland is third overall after two of the 13 stages of the Dakar Rally. Felipe Trueba / EPA
Sam Sunderland is third overall after two of the 13 stages of the Dakar Rally. Felipe Trueba / EPA

Sam Sunderland is hopeful that he can build on winning the second stage of the Dakar Rally to enjoy a strong finish to the event in South America.

The Dubai-based Briton won the 359km stage on Monday between San Luis and San Rafael in Argentina in a time of 3 hours, 42 minutes and 10 seconds, 39 seconds clear of Chilean rider Francisco Lopez.

“There weren’t so many dunes, maybe 50km or so, but it was definitely a lot of fun and a big mixture of terrains and different type of riding – some technical stuff, then some really high speed stuff,” Sunderland said.

“The bike was awesome. Hopefully I can carry on in this direction and have a good overall finish.”

Joan Barreda, who was third on the stage, leads the overall standings with an advantage of more than two minutes over Lopez, with Sunderland in third spot.

Meanwhile, in the car category of the 36th staging of the event, defending champion Stephane Peterhansel moved to the top of the rankings as he won the stage.

He moved 28 seconds clear of Spain’s Carlo Sainz, with Qatari driver Nasser Al Attiyah in third place.

Peterhansel said of his performance: “At the end there were also very nice dunes, but the navigation was easy in the dunes because there were a lot of people everywhere in the dunes.

“At the top of each dune, it was necessary to follow the public.”

Elsewhere, in the quad bikes, Emirati rider Sebastian Husseini is in fifth place, eight minutes behind leader Marcos Patronelli after finishing fourth on the second stage.

The drivers and riders completed the third stage late yesterday, with today’s fourth stage, between San Juan and Chilecito, covering 657km for the cars and trucks, and 353km for the bikes and quads.

The event runs for 13 days and ends on January 18.