Race leader and 2017 champion Sam Sunderland has been forced to retire from this year's Dakar Rally.
The 28 year old Brit, who had won two of the opening stages, well well placed on the fourth stage until suffering a crash between the third and fourth checkpoints on the special.
Details of the incident remain limited, but MCN understands he has experienced some kind of back trauma. There are reports that he is being evacuated off the stage and back to the bivouac, rather than to hospital, which suggests his injuiries are not life threatening.
Sam Sunderland has now arrived back at the Bivouac for initial examination by Dakar’s medical team and is expected to be flown to the Peruvian capital, Lima for more detailed examination.
MCN spoke with KTM team manager Alex Doringer as he left the medical tent following a brief conversation with Sunderland.
Doringer said: “I’ve just spoken with Sam, it seems that when he was searching for one of the WPC (Way Point Control) he jumped into a big hole and suffered a big compression. He felt a sharp pain in his back immediately, but carried on for another 5km before stopping again due to the pain and a lack of feeling in his legs.
“He said that the feeling in his legs has returned, but he will now be transferred to Lima for more tests.”
This story will be updated as more information becomes available
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