Dakar stage 6: Sunderland’s Dakar charge in doubt

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Arequipa to San Juan Total 521 miles with 197 mile Special stage

Sam Sunderland’s Dakar winning aspirations were dealt a serious blow after he was forced to ride with no back brake when he hit a rock and broke the caliper during stage six of the race.

Sunderland went into the stage second in the overall standings, less than one minute off the lead and while he expected to lose some time by opening the stage, he ended up losing over 20 minutes due to the rear brake problem despite getting it changed by his team in the neutralisation zone.


The 29 year old Brit now sits seventh in the overall standings, but is now a massive 21m 06s off the new race leader and stage six winner Pablo Quintanilla.  

Sunderland said: “As we know, opening the stage is always a disadvantage and today, with harsh conditions and tricky navigation, it cost me a lot of time. Personally for me, I was pleased with my riding and how I managed the navigation out front, that was really encouraging. I lost a time after clipping a rock and damaging my rear brake, but the team were great and replaced that at the neutralisation. The race isn’t over yet though and I’m going to keep fighting. It’s Dakar, it’s always a challenge.”

After securing his first stage win of this years Dakar, Quintanilla said:  “Everything went according to plan and I’m happy with the stage win. The day wasn’t easy, the pace was quite fast, and navigation was difficult. We also had to race through strong headwinds. We had a good battle with Kevin Benavides and at one point I managed to pass him and retain the lead. It’s good to be back on top in the overall. The race is still long and I want to stick to my plan. Tomorrow I will be the first rider to start the stage and this is surely a disadvantage. But my plan is to fight back for a good result on day eighth and then take advantage of the mass start on day nine. Lots of things can happen these next few days but I will do my best to keep my eyes focused on my goals.” 

With Briton’s Max Hunt out of the race after he was forced to retire on stage five, fellow Brit Richard Main continues in his bid to get to the finish and the 53 year old Redline KTM rider has consistently been running in the top 80. 

Stage 6 results

1          Pablo Quintanilla        Husqvarna                   3h 50m 47s

2          Kevin Benavides          Honda                         +1m 52s

3          Matthias Walkner       KTM                             + 4m 21s

4          Toby Price                   KTM                             + 4m 48s

5          Adrien Van Beveren    Yamaha                       + 5m 48s

6          Ricky Brabec               Honda                         + 7m 30s


Overall results

1          Pablo Quintanilla        Husqvarna                   20h 45m 13s

2          Ricky Brabec               Honda                         + 4m 38s

3          Toby Price                   KTM                             + 5m 17s

4          Kevin Benavides          Honda                         + 8m 01s

5          Adrien Van Beveren    Yamaha                       + 9m 32s

6          Matthias Walkner       KTM                             + 10m 46s

7          Sam Sunderland          KTM                             + 21m 05s

Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider