Ninth place finish for 2022 Dakar Champion as Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge starts to take its
toll on the field
Day two proved tough for Sam Sunderland as he continued his assault on the 2022 Abu
Dhabi Desert Challenge, with him finishing the day in ninth, after the long and tough stage
two. The stage was eventually won by Hero’s Ross Branch, with Husqvarna’s Luciano
Benavides and KTM’s Kevin Benavides just behind.
The finish left him in fourth overall in the rankings, but with a strong start position for stage
three, where he plans to make up the time lost and attack the remainder of the race.
“Day two is in the books. It was a bit of a scary one early on as I saw Mike Docherty had had
a crash. I stopped to see if they needed help, but thankfully they were ok,” said Sunderland.
“After that I tried to chase down Matthias (Walkner) ahead, but he was doing a good job of
opening the stage, so it wasn’t so easy. Overall, it was a really difficult day with lots of
dunes, heat, and obviously the longest special of the race. I’m feeling good, happy to get the
day done, and now looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of the rally.”
Sunderland initially stopped momentarily to aid a fallen rider, but then got his head down
and got on the gas to try and catch the one remaining competitor ahead of him. Navigating
well, despite being only the second rider through the special, the Dakar Champion made the
minimum of errors and lost very little time to the chasing pack.
Lying fourth overall, and with the first leg of the event’s marathon stage completed without
issue, Sunderland will be the fourth rider to enter the 255km timed special on stage three.
2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Stage 2 Provisional Classification
- Ross Branch (Hero) 4:10:28
- Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 4:11:07
- Kevin Benavides (KTM) 4:11:09
2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 2]
- Kevin Benavides (KTM) 7:52:48
- Ricky Brabec (Honda) 7:57:11
- Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 7:57:52
- Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 7:58:33