Dakar: Sunderland puts one hand on trophy as Goncalves takes the stage

Published: 13 January 2017

Brit Sam Sunderland has put one hand on the 2017 Dakar Rally title after a steady day on stage eleven of the race saw him extend his lead over Red Bull KTM teammate Matthias Walkner to 33 minutes with only 64km of racing left in this year’s race.

Monster Energy Honda rider Paulo Goncalves took the stage win from teammate Joan Barreda, but despite finishing third Yamaha rider Adrien Van Beveren’s last ditch chances of closing down Sunderland are all but gone, as he sits third overall, some 37 minutes adrift.

Sunderland has been handed some breathing room after yesterday’s punishing stage saw a number of the top names fall out of contention, including second-placed man Paulo Quintanilla.

However, after a poor day for Walkner, Van Beveren may have an outside chance of moving one step up on the former MXGP racer on the final day of racing, if he can find a way to close down the three minutes on tomorrow’s final run into Buenos Aires.

Further behind the battle for the lead, the non-factory British quartet of Lyndon Poskitt, Max Hunt, Kurt Burroughs and David Watson all survived another day inside the top hundred, finishing 49th, 60th, 97th and 99th respectively.

Standings after stage 11:

  1. Sunderland
  2. Walkner +33:09
  3. Van Beveren +0:37:10    
  4. Farres +0:37:22
  5. Barreda +0:47:31
  6. Goncalves +0:52:46
  7. Renet +0:56:01
  8. Caimi +1:40:53
  9. Rodrigues +2:00:46
  10. Salvatierra +2:21:35