Dakar (E10): The ascent of Sunderland

After two unsuccessful years, Sam Sunderland returned to victory on Thursday for the 11th and penultimate stage. The Briton took the opportunity to move up to second place overall, close to Kevin Benavides.

This Dakar 2021 will be decidedly exciting until the end. Just as he could hardly reserve a greater suspense. In motorcycles, it will also be necessary to wait until the very last stage, Friday, to know the winner and successor of Ricky Brabec (Honda) on the prize list. Despite his setbacks of the day (Brabec was lost at kilometer 247 and gave up nearly seven minutes in the affair, as well as his place of dolphin in the standings), the American has not said his last word. . However, on Thursday, during the 11th and penultimate stage, it was Sam Sunderland (KTM) who allowed himself to completely reshuffle the cards and completely restart his chances as well as the sprint for the final victory in the same cup. After two years of scarcity (his last victory was in 2019), the Briton, leading from kilometer 306 of this shortened stage due to weather conditions, has thus returned to success.

Thursday evening for Barreda

Perfect timing for Sunderland, who had never been on the podium since the start but took advantage of his very good performance on Thursday to settle in second place, just over four minutes (4’12) from Kevin Benavides (Honda). Admittedly, the Argentinian, third in this 11th stage and still leader of the general, keeps a mattress which should allow him to triumph on Friday in Jeddah if he does not have bad luck. For one of the other contenders for the final victory Joan Barreda (Honda), however, this Dakar is over. On Thursday, the Spaniard who occupied fourth place overall before setting off for this 11th stage retired after running out of fuel at kilometer 267 (he had missed the previous refueling). Unable to reach the next refueling point, the unfortunate of the day was forced to throw in the towel, not without having previously asked the medical service which took him back to the bivouac by helicopter to examine him.

11th motorcycle stage – Al-Ula – Yanbu (598 km, including 464 km of special) – Thursday 14 January 2021
1- Sam Sunderland (GBR / KTM) in 4h35’12
Pablo Quintanilla (CHL / Husqvarna) at 2’40
3- Kevin Benavides (ARG / Honda) at 6’24
4- Daniel Sanders (AUS / KTM) at 8’34
5- Matthias Walker (AUT / KTM) at 9’27

7- Adrien Van Beveren (FRA / Yamaha) at 14’48

General motorcycle classification after 11 stages (out of 12)
1- Kevin Benavides (ARG / Honda) in 45h01’44
2- Sam Sunderland (GBR / KTM) at 4’12
3- Ricky Brabec (USA / Honda) at 7’13
4- Daniel Sanders (AUS / KTM) at 7 ′
5- Skyler Howes (USA / KTM) at 6 ′

8- Adrien Van Beveren (FRA / Yamaha) at 15 ′