KTM’s Sam Sunderland Still Leading Overall After Dakar Stage 7

Almost every Dakar Rally stage returned a different winner, and with the top ten riders changing frequently, it’s almost impossible to speculate who will be this year’s winner. However, KTM’s Sam Sunderland is the one who still leads the pack overall after Stage 7.
Sam Sunderland 6 photos
Photo: KTM Racing
KTM factory riders at Dakar 2017KTM factory riders at Dakar 2017KTM factory riders at Dakar 2017KTM factory riders at Dakar 2017KTM factory riders at Dakar 2017
His other two factory teammates, Matthias Walkner and Laia Sanz, safely rode to the end of the timed special on their KTM 450 Rally motorcycles. The former ended the stage in seventh place, just 10 minutes behind the lead, while Sanz came in 23rd place, 21 minutes and 58 seconds behind.

Sunderland had another solid and wisely cautious day as he works on his goal to see the finish in Buenos Aires this Saturday. He lost a few minutes just 38 kilometers into the special when he found himself off the track in the dunes, but at the end of the day, he was able to recover the lost time.

“It was a lot harder a stage than we were expecting – there was a lot of navigation,” Sunderland explains. “I lost some time today because it was a sandy stage and the guys from the back can see the tracks cleanly. I'm really happy with everything on the bike. It's the first stage of the marathon day, and the tires are good, so we'll just keep ticking along.”

There was another strong performance from 31-year old Australian KTM rider, outsider Todd Smith, who has been steadily improving every day and was an excellent seventh in Stage 7.

The Dakar now leaves the Altplano, Bolivia’s high altitude plateau, as riders travel from Uyuni to Salta in Argentina. While the Dakar Rally has been to the region before, race direction has promised they will travel over new territory, with multiple rivers to ford and a spectacular canyon area to reach their destination.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories