Dakar Rally: Sanders Wins Shortened Stage 6, Petrucci Crashes

Dakar Rally: Sanders Wins Shortened Stage 6, Petrucci Crashes

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By GASGAS Factory Racing:



One-two in today’s shortened stage and one-three in the provisional overall, not a bad first week’s work for GASGAS Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland and Daniel Sanders! At the end of a wild opening six days of desert racing at the 2022 Dakar Rally, Sam holds onto the top spot of the provisional overall leaderboard while Daniel claimed his second stage win of the race, moving up to third in the overall provisional classification. Shortened due to safety concerns, stage six saw riders head back to the bivouac early, where they’ll remain for tomorrow’s official rest day.

Sam Sunderland continues to lead the 2022 Dakar Rally

Daniel Sanders wins stage six and moves into third overall

GASGAS Factory Racing ready to enjoy the event’s rest day

Daniel Sanders: “It was going really well for me today and I guess it ended well actually with another stage win. I started off strong, a bit like I have all week, but it was soon pretty clear that the stage was pretty chewed up from yesterday after the trucks had raced through it. So, then it was a case of trying to focus on the dangers in the roadbook but because of how the stage was, there were plenty of additional dangers to keep an eye out for. I’m a little disappointed that today was cut short, though. There was a long day ahead where it would have been possible to make up some time but I’m happy to have taken another stage win and I’m looking forward to next week.”

Rounding out a strong and consistent week of racing, Sam Sunderland finished as runner-up on stage six, just a couple of minutes behind Daniel. Able to accurately read the challenging terrain, the Brit applied a cautious approach throughout the abbreviated special. Safely bringing his GASGAS RC 450F Rally home on the shortened, 100-kilometer stage without any issues, Sam importantly maintains his lead in the provisional standings.

Sam Sunderland: “Ahead of today there were quite a few riders concerned about how the stage would be after the trucks had raced it yesterday, and it was unbelievable out there. So many rocks and square edges where trucks spin up the dirt and leave the rocks behind. So, on a bike, you’re basically coming up to half meter high walls of rock everywhere. You then start going offline to find smooth lines but then your roadbook isn’t quite right as you’ve ridden away from the correct line. For me it was the right decision for it to be shortened today and I’m happy to reach the halfway point still in the lead. I’m looking forward to the rest day tomorrow and a chance to recharge my batteries ahead of next week.”

Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2022, stage 6

1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 0:51:43

2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 0:54:09

3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 0:54:19


Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 6)

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 19:55:59

2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 19:58:38

3. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 20:01:34




More, from a press release issued by KTM Factory Racing:


Dakar Rally 2022 – Stage Six

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Matthias Walkner remains in second place in the provisional overall Dakar Rally standings after finishing third on a significantly shortened stage six of the event. Toby Price finished ninth after close to one hour of racing against the clock, with Kevin Benavides just over one minute behind him in 15th. Stage five winner Danilo Petrucci completed the 100-kilometer section in 40th following a small crash.

The initially planned 404-kilometer special on today’s stage six was set to see the bike class competitors repeat the route used by the cars and trucks yesterday. With the terrain heavily cut up by the passing of the previous day’s vehicles, the organizers decided to cut the stage short on safety grounds and take the day’s results from the first refueling point, at just over the 100-kilometer mark.

Matthias Walkner came into today’s stage knowing that the rough terrain would pose a huge challenge to all riders and the chance of some unexpected dangers was very high. As such, the experienced Austrian took extra care on the heavily rutted ground and aimed for a safe finish to the stage. Despite his caution, Walkner was third fastest to the refueling point at kilometer 100, where the stage was eventually stopped. Matthias now sits second overall at the close of the first week of racing, trailing the current rally leader by under three minutes.

Matthias Walkner: “Obviously it was a short day today and the tracks were really rough. You had to focus a lot and really take care – it was also very physical with the ground being cut up so badly. I’m a little disappointed that they let us race the stage only to cancel it at 100 kilometers, but I suppose it was the same for everyone. Thankfully it all went ok, and I reached the finish safely. We have a rest day tomorrow that I’m really looking forward to, so I’ll try and recharge my batteries and then attack once again next week for the final six stages.”

As the fifth rider to enter the stage, Toby Price also soon realized that extra care was needed to avoid a crash. Despite a couple of close calls, the two-time Dakar champion safely arrived at the end of the special in eighth place. Lying 12th in the provisional overall standings, Toby trails the leader by just under 40 mins. However, with the toughest, most technical six days of the event left to race, the Australian star is confident of being able to close that deficit.

Toby Price: “It was quite a short stage today. The cars and trucks had all passed through there yesterday, so we were on their stage today. I think we all went into the stage with a bit of a feeling that it wasn’t going to work and yeah, a lot of the dangers were worse than listed on the roadbook and there were a few extra hazards out there too. I think they made the right call to stop it at 100 kilometers – I had a couple of scary moments myself out there. I’m happy to reach the rest day safely, not quite the overall position I would have liked, but there’s still a long way to go, so I’ll give my all and see what I can do next week.”

Similarly to his teammates, Kevin Benavides took a measured approach to today’s stage, ultimately completing the 100 kilometers in 15th place, less than six minutes down on the eventual winner. The reigning Dakar Champion still sits inside the top 10 overall going into week two, and with the expected rougher terrain and more technical navigation suiting the Argentinian’s strengths, he’s looking forward to delivering a strong ride on the final six days in Saudi.

Kevin Benavides: “I started off really well today but then came across Ross Branch who had had a crash early on, so I thought maybe it would be a good idea to ease off a little. We arrived at the refueling and after that I tried my best to push on but then they stopped the stage early and took the results from 100 kilometers. I think it was the right decision as the tracks were really rough and quite dangerous for us. Finishing 15th today gives me a good position to start the second week, so I’m happy.”

Following on from his outstanding stage win on day six – the first ever for a former MotoGP rider – Tech3 KTM Factory Rcinag’s Danilo Petrucci was given the unenviable task of opening today’s heavily damaged special. The likeable Italian did an extremely good job, even after a crash in the opening few kilometers resulted in a few cuts and bruises. Arriving at the finish in 40th place, just under 13 minutes down, Danilo was pleased with how he had handled the all-new experience and now looks forward to a well-earned day off the bike.

Danilo Petrucci: “Today was the first time in my career that I have opened a stage, and I think it was on one of the toughest stages of this year’s rally because it was used for the cars and trucks yesterday. The team did a good job of warning me about the dangers, but I was still surprised to find a big step in the middle of the track. I had quite a heavy crash and the rider behind me crashed too, but luckily, I was able to continue. I think they made the right decision and now I’m looking forward to having one day of rest before continuing on Sunday.”

Provisional Results Stage Six (overall) – 2022 Dakar Rally

1. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 51:43

2. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 54:09 +2:26

3. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 54:19 +2:36

4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 54:58 +3:15

5. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 55:02 +3:19

Other KTM

9. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 55:59 +4:16

15. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 57:14 +5:31

40. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), KTM, 1:04:27 +12:44


Provisional Standings – 2022 Dakar Rally after 6 of 12 stages

1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 19:55:59

2. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 19:58:38 +2:39

3. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 20:01:34 +5:35

4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 20:03:42 +7:43

5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI), Honda, 20:13:43 +17:44

Other KTM

8. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 20:20:55 +24:56

12. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 20:35:08 +39:09




More, from a press release issued by Husqvarna Factory Racing:



Luciano Benavides has delivered a solid but cautious performance on the much-shortened timed special on day six of the 2022 Dakar Rally, to complete the stage in 11th place. With the planned route following that of the trucks and cars from the day before, the tracks were notably damaged with many new dangers appearing, which weren’t included on the riders’ roadbooks. Realising the situation, Benavides used his experience to carefully navigate his way through the stage, ensuring a safe finish.

Originally planned to cover 404 kilometres, stage six was ultimately cut short by the organisers after it was found that the terrain was far more treacherous than first anticipated, due to the passing of the four-wheeled competitors the day before. Reduced to a quarter of its length, stage times were taken from the first refuel point.

Showing especially strong form over the previous couple of stages, Luciano Benavides came into day six looking to move further up the overall ranking ahead of Saturday’s rest day. As the 10th rider into the special it was immediately obvious to him that the tracks were heavily damaged, and caution was required in order to minimise any mistakes or crashes on the unpredictable terrain.

A solid but safe ride saw the Argentinian arrive at the refuelling point in 11th place, where he learned that the stage would be cut short. Frustrated not to have been able to make up more time on his rivals, but happy to come away from the stage without damaging himself or his bike, Luciano now looks forward to the rest day, and ahead to the second week of racing at this year’s Dakar.

Luciano Benavides: “Honestly, I think the organisers made the right decision today. We knew the stage would be cut up quite badly – it always is when we follow the trucks and cars. This one seemed quite bad, and it was very easy to make a mistake, especially as a lot of the dangers weren’t listed in the roadbook. I’m happy with how I rode the stage – I chose not to push too hard, to use my brain and bring the bike home safely. Finishing 11th is ok, and it gives me a good start position for Sunday. Now, I’m looking forward to having some rest tomorrow. I feel pretty good, I think I was definitely very well prepared for this year’s race physically, but the final week is always tough and I want to be as strong as I can be to do my best.”


2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 6 Provisional Classification

1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 0:51:43

2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 0:54:09

3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 0:54:19

4. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 0:54:58

5. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 0:55:02

6. Mason Klein (KTM) 0:55:16

11. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 0:56:29


2022 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 6)

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 19:55:59

2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 19:58:38

3. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 20:01:34

4. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 20:03:42

5. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 20:13:43

6. Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) 20:14:21

17. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 20:59:35




More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Honda Team:

Stage 6 of the Dakar stopped at kilometre 101

Today’s stage was cut short due to poor conditions. Race organisers called a halt to the special stage with 101 kilometres completed, a quarter of the scheduled total.

As had previously been predicted, today’s stage was held amid dismal track conditions, given that the cars, SSVs and trucks had competed over the same route a day earlier. Riders set out well-aware that they would have their work cut out on this tough, physical stage. However, the race organisers quickly realised just how treacherous the route was for most riders: “The deterioration of the track due to the passage of cars and trucks yesterday, combined with recent torrential rains, has made the route impassable,” announced the ASO mid-stage. Furthermore, the organisers’ communiqué stated that “the classification for the sixth stage will be established at kilometre 101”. Therefore, the final stage length was approximately a quarter of the originally scheduled total.

José Ignacio Cornejo and Ricky Brabec found themselves opening the way after the two riders ahead crashed in a dangerous, deeply rutted position after yesterday’s traffic of four-wheelers and trucks. On reaching the refuelling point, the riders were instructed to continue, however, the race direction helicopter subsequently informed them that the special had been shortened to the refuelling point, and from there, competitors were directed back to the bivouac in Riyadh. Pablo Quintanilla, who had been in pursuit, also managed to reach the end of the special at kilometre 101 and later accompanied the other riders to the bivouac.

The shortened stage proved to be a blessing for Joan Barreda, who this morning started still visibly in pain after yesterday’s fall where he injured his shoulder. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider was able to complete today’s partial stage and will be grateful to have reached the rest day. Stage seven gets the rally underway again the following day.

Tomorrow’s stage

There will be no stage tomorrow. After six days of tough racing, the competitors have earned a well-deserved rest day. After arriving at the bivouac today, the riders will have the entire day to relax and prepare both physically and mentally for the second week of competition, set to recommence the day after tomorrow, on Sunday, with the seventh stage: Riyadh-Al Dawadimi.

Ricky Brabec  2


This is the day before rest day. It was supposed to be a little over 400 km. The day was strange. The organisation is trying to do different things with different ideas, I understand that, but I don’t agree with what they did today, which was yesterday to start where the cars passed yesterday; this is not normal. It’s a big safety issue. We’re holding a lot of fuel. They are big and heavy. It’s dangerous out there. A couple of riders have fallen hard. This shouldn’t be part of the rally. The cars and tyres are getting bigger and they are creating bigger ruts. It’s more dangerous. We made it to the rest day and we’re happy. Then we are going to attack the final seven days of the Dakar.

Pablo Quintanilla  7


The organisation decided to stop the stage because of the danger of the terrain. The ruts were very deep and there were many more dangers than there were in the roadbook and the organisation decided to stop the race. I think it was a good decision because it was very dangerous. We will wait to see today’s times, to see where the times are taken. Anyway, I have arrived at the rest day, so it’s time to get the energy back and rest well because the second week of the rally will be tough. We have to stay focused and work on the race day by day.

José Ignacio Cornejo  11


I’m happy to be back in the bivouac. Today’s stage was very dangerous. We’re coming to the rest day after an intense first week of racing. We will have to take advantage of the rest day to recover both body and mind and then give it everything for the remaining six days of racing. Today’s stage was dangerous and was stopped at the refuelling point. Unfortunately, several riders crashed and were out of the race. It could have happened to anyone because it was very dangerous after the cars and trucks passed yesterday. I’m happy to be here in one piece, with no injuries. Let’s get ready for the rest of the Dakar.

Joan Barreda  88


The goal today was to try to continue in the race after yesterday’s fall. I was in a lot of pain over the 100 kilometres, especially on the rocky and sandy parts, where I had to brake to overcome the bumps and dangers; I really suffered. We’ll see how the injury evolves. The aim is that the injury doesn’t get any worse. If it continues like this, I hope to be able to manage the situation and continue in the race. The rally has been complicated since we made the mistake on the first day, because then you try to push to make up time, then in the end I crashed and I was unlucky to injured my shoulder. Now we’re going to try to reach the finish-line, which is the main objective.

Today I was able to finish the first 100 km, but I don’t know if continuing the stage would have been feasible. My shoulder hurt a lot during some movements on the bike. We’ll see how it goes in the second week.

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