Brit Sam Sunderland has burst into the lead of this year’s Dakar Rally, snatching both stage win and a substantial overall lead after a typically drama-filled day on the South American classic.
Some of the drama happened before the day even started though, with race leader Joan Barreda and his Monster Energy Honda teammates each hit with an hour-long penalty for refuelling outside the designated areas during yesterday’s fourth stage.
That left the Red Bull KTM duo of Sunderland and Matthias Walkner to go head-to-head, but a navigational error for yesterday’s stage winner saw him concede valuable time to the hard-charging Brit.
But his chance to extend his lead even further was cut short by an early end to the day, after heavy rain brought an early finish to the day’s proceedings as organisers were forced to call a halt after only five of the special stage’s nine waypoints.
But despite the early finish, there was still time for more misfortune to hit Barreda, as he also got lost in the closing stages of the day, with a convoy of riders behind him making the mistake of following the Honda rider, seeing him finish back in 26th.
At the time of the early finish, Sunderland’s fellow Brit Max Hunt was an impressive 34th, ahead of Lyndon Poskitt lying in 57th with Kurt Burroughs 85th and David Watson 87th.
Top 10 overall after Stage 5:
- Sam Sunderland (KTM), 15h 22m 05s
- Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna), +00:12:00
- Adrien van Beveren (Yamaha), +00:16:07
- Gerard Farres (KTM), +00:20:57
- Matthias Walkner (KTM), +00:29:01
- Stefan Svitko (KTM), +00:48:43
- Paulo Gonçalves (Honda), +01:08:21
- Joan Barreda (Honda), +01:12:39
- Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha), +01:23:38
- Michael Metge (Honda), +01:49:25
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