SportsSam Sunderland, winner of the 2022 Dakar Rally, abandons due to a...

    Sam Sunderland, winner of the 2022 Dakar Rally, abandons due to a fall in the first stage

    The Dakar 2023 begins with a coup d’etat in the first timed kilometers. The current champion in the motorcycle category, the British Sam Sunderland, champion also in 2017, fell at km 52 of the opening special of the test (with a total of 4,706 km under time control) and had to leave immediately. The 33-year-old pilot, born in Southampton, was transferred to the Yanbu hospital, a coastal town in the west of Saudi Arabia, by medicalized helicopter. The organization reported that he is conscious and out of danger, but they preferred to send him to the center for a complete examination and check for back pain.

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    Sunderland fell when leading with 10 seconds ahead of Joan Barreda (Honda) and Pablo Quintanilla (Honda). The motorcycles were traveling through an area of ​​dry and narrow rivers when he fell to the ground. Matthias Walkner (KTM), who was running fifth in the special, stopped to assist his colleague and dropped more than 12 minutes on the time sheets. The organization must determine how long it compensates the Austrian, winner in 2018, for his altruistic gesture when he has analyzed the incident. Also in 2018, Sunderland already fell early, in the fourth stage, during the defense of their first Touareg in Peru. On that occasion, a lower back injury sidelined the nine-stage winner and favorite to victory in Saudi soil from the race.

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    In the run-up to the 2023 edition, Sunderland was confident that they could break the spell of consecutive Dakar victories. Since 2015, the year of Marc Coma’s last victory with KTM, no biker has lifted two consecutive titles in the rally.

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    Source: EL PAIS

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