Sunderland Increases Overall Dakar 2017 Lead While Stage 9 Gets Canceled

The Dakar Rally 2017 Edition seems to be one of the toughest so far, with rain and flooded areas taking their toll on the riders and the machines. However, even with two stages canceled now, KTM stays strong and looks forward to winning the big event.
KTM Factory team Dakar 2017 1 photo
Photo: KTM Racing
Red Bull KTM factory riders continue to hold up despite the storm-battered rally. Overall leader Sam Sunderland has added several minutes onto his advantage after Stage 8. Spain’s Joan Barreda was the stage winner with KTM teammates Matthias Walkner and Sunderland achieving second and third position.

Once again race direction was forced to make changes to the stage before the start as a consequence of torrential rain in the region and rising water levels in rivers that riders had to pass through.

But there was worse to come for the Dakar caravan. There was a massive landslide on the liaison road some 40 km north of Jujuy, and 160 km from Salta, which caused considerable damage to a village along the way, according to Argentinian civil security.

While the leading group of rider made it to the finish line, many others were stranded and had to be diverted over a much longer route. Many were not due to reach Salta in time for the start of Stage 9. As a result, the ninth challenge was canceled, and the plan was made to regroup the Dakar caravan in time to start the Chilecito to San Juan stage.

Sam Sunderland continues to take the careful approach on the KTM 450 Rally to his ride to try to further build on his overall lead of almost 21 minutes over second placed Chilean rider Pablo Quintanilla. The cancelation of Stage 9 will further enhance Sunderland’s chances of at good end result because his closest opponents will have one day less to narrow the gap to the leader.
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