Dubai-based Dakar Champion holds narrow advantage going into the final day
With one day to go GASGAS rider, Sam Sunderland still holds top spot on the ADDC. Thanks
to his impressive pace, and a decent helping of grit and determination, Sunderland has
safely completed the penultimate stage of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in ninth
place, maintaining his lead at the top of the overall timesheets.
As the second rider into the 243km special, Sam did a superb job, losing the minimum
amount of time to his chasing rivals, and producing a near mistake-free stage while pushing
hard for just over three hours of racing.
“Day four done, and I’m still in the overall lead, but it looks like things are really close at the
top, just like Dakar,” said Sunderland. “It was a tough stage again today with lots of rocky
pistes and some big dunes. I caught Matthias (Walkner) around kilometer 80 and then rode
with him for most of the day – he was doing a really good job of opening, so I just kept to a
good, solid pace myself. It feels good to ride together like that and to be honest, I’ve been
feeling a lot stronger in general as the race goes on. At the beginning of the event I felt a bit
rough, but over the last couple of stages I’ve really found my rhythm and got into the swing
of it. I’m happy with the bike and physically feeling good for the last stage, so we’ll see how
Setting off near the front, Sam knew he had to get his head down and complete the stage
without any mistakes to carry his race lead into the final day.
After catching up to Matthias Walkner, who had topped the previous day, the pace at the
front was good enough for Sam to be able to take extra care over his navigation and ensure
an accurate and safe passage through the challenging timed special.
Arriving at the finish as ninth-fastest for the day, the 2022 Dakar Champ not only earned
himself a really strong start position for the short 209km final special on Thursday, but was
also able to maintain his overall lead in the event standings.
However, with just 23 seconds now separating the top two, Sunderland will have to give it
all on tomorrow’s final stage back to Abu Dhabi.
2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Stage 4 Provisional Classification
- Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:04:10
- Toby Price (KTM) 3:04:42
- Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 3:05:14
2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 4]
- Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 14:33:27
- Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 14:33:50
- Toby Price (KTM) 14:35:09