Editorial Update: KTM Factory Racing has announced via social media that Danilo Petrucci was forced to stop due to an electrical issue. He will restart the rally Tuesday, but he will not be in the official classification.
SAM SUNDERLAND SHINES ON DAKAR RALLY STAGE TWO
FORMER DAKAR CHAMP TAKES PROVISIONAL EVENT LEAD WITH TEAMMATE DANIEL SANDERS NOW CLOSE BEHIND IN THIRD
Oh, it’s tight at the top now! Starting sixth on stage two of the 2022 Dakar Rally, Sam Sunderland put together a faultless display of riding and navigation to catch the front runners, lead the stage, and then bring his GASGAS RC 450F Rally home in a fine second place. The strong result moves the Brit to the top of the provisional leaderboard where he now enjoys a near three-minute advantage over his nearest rival. Fresh from taking his maiden Dakar stage win yesterday, Daniel Sanders did a great job of opening the majority of today’s stage, frustratingly making a small but costly navigational error on his way into the finish, which led to him ending the special close to 25 minutes behind the day’s winner.
Sam Sunderland produces exceptional form on stage two
Two GASGAS RC 450F bikes inside the provisional top three
Early rally leader Daniel Sanders now lies third overall
Sam Sunderland: “It was an interesting day today and it certainly went a bit more smoothly than yesterday, which is what I wanted. I started sixth and focused on just pushing hard to catch the leaders. There was some tricky navigation, but I figured out the way pretty quickly and caught up to Van Beveren. We then caught up with a few more of the leading guys so from there onwards we took it in turns to navigate and it was a pretty cool way to end the stage.”
Keeping a cool head in the face of adversity is an essential attribute to rally success so when Daniel Sanders found himself on the wrong side of canyon nearing the end of stage two, he had to make a quick decision. Instead of turning back, he opted to jump his GASGAS RC 450F clean over it to get himself back in the race, which, fortunately, worked out perfectly! From there onwards it was a hard charge to the finish line. Despite losing a little bit of time, Sanders lies in a strong third in the overall provisional classification, just three-and-a-half minutes down on teammate Sunderland.
Daniel Sanders: “Today was pretty wild to begin with as it was pretty cloudy and the stage was super-fast early on. I had a good day going until after a fuel stop where I went down the wrong side of a canyon and lost a little bit of time. In the end I had to jump over it to get out of it but once back on the right line I pushed on to the finish. A little frustrating but I was able to make up some time in the dunes so all in all, not a bad day really.”
Results (provisional): Dakar Rally 2022, stage 2
1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:31:20
2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:36.53
3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 3:37.14
23. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 3:56.18
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 2)
1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 8:31.29
2. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 8:34:20
3. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 8:34.58
More, from a press release issued by KTM Factory Racing:
THIRD PLACE FINISH FOR KEVIN BENAVIDES ON DAKAR STAGE TWO
Dakar Rally 2022 – Stage Two
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides has finished third on the fast and technical stage two of the Dakar Rally. Teammates Toby Price and Matthias Walkner also delivered strong results, finishing fifth and 14th respectively. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci’s day came to a premature end when a technical issue forced him to withdraw from the stage.
Totaling 570 kilometers, day two of the Dakar challenged competitors with a series of tricky-to-navigate fast tracks and open dunes. Navigation, although not as testing as during the event’s opening stage, still caught out many as they made their way from Ha’il to Al Artawiya.
Completing stage one in 14th place, defending Dakar Champion Kevin Benavides made the very best use of his starting position to make up time on his rivals. With his KTM 450 RALLY performing perfectly beneath him, Benavides was able to work his way up the rankings as the day progressed, moving into the top three by the halfway point. From there, the experienced Argentinian maintained a strong pace to the finish, ultimately claiming third, just under six minutes down on the stage winner.
Kevin Benavides: “Today was a good day, especially after such a tough day yesterday. I started near the back and was able to push really hard. The special today was really fast in places, but also quite complicated – you had to know where to attack and where to focus on your navigation. It’s only day two and everything can happen at the Dakar – there are always ups and downs. I’m looking forward to the next few days.”
Also one of the riders to lose time on the event’s first full stage, Toby Price’s second day at the 2022 Dakar thankfully went very much the same way as teammate Benavides’, with the Aussie building his pace throughout the day and fighting his way up the order. Completing the stage as fifth fastest, earning himself a strong start position for day three, Toby will aim to cut his deficit to the leaders once again tomorrow.
Toby Price: “Today went a lot better than yesterday, and I was able to claw back a little time on the leaders. It’s always tough when you lose a big chunk of time early on, but it’s still very early days and there’s a lot of racing left. The bike is really good – I’m feeling really comfortable – so let’s continue tomorrow and see what happens.”
Despite being the third rider to enter the timed special on stage two, Matthias Walkner was able to maintain a strong pace while delivering accurate navigation on the fast stage, completing the day in 14th. The result means that the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion now sits in a solid fourth place overall, with an advantageous start position to look forward to on Tuesday’s stage three.
Matthias Walkner: “I had a good stage today, I started third so that was always going to be quite tough. After the refueling, the guys in front made a mistake, I stayed on the wrong line too for a little while, but then realized my mistake and was able to get back on course. For the rest of the stage I was riding with another couple of riders with us taking it in turns to open. Navigation was really tricky, but I think we did a good job.”
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Danilo Petrucci suffered a technical issue early on in the stage that brought his day to a premature end.
Provisional Results Stage Two (overall) – 2022 Dakar Rally
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 3:31:20
2. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 3:36:53 +5:33
3. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 3:37:14 +5:54
4. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 3:37:36 +6:16
5. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 3:38:20 +7:00
14. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 3:45:51 +14:31
Provisional Standings – 2022 Dakar Rally after 2 of 12 stages
1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GASGAS, 8:31:29
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 8:34:20 +2:51
3. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 8:34:58 +3:29
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 8:35:37 +4:08
5. Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 8:41:28 +9:59
11. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 8:52:16 +20:47
15. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 9:04:17 +32:48
More, from a press release issued by Husqvarna Factory Racing:
FOURTH PLACE FINISH FOR HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING ON STAGE TWO OF DAKAR RALLY 2022
SKYLER HOWES FINISHES JUST SIX MINUTES DOWN ON TODAY’S STAGE WINNER TO JUMP TO FIFTH IN THE GENERAL STANDINGS
Putting the challenging opening stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally firmly behind him, Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Skyler Howes has claimed a solid fourth-place result on the 554-kilometre stage two from Al Ha’il to Artawiyah. The FR 450 Rally rider now lies an impressive fifth overall in the provisional rally standings. Luciano Benavides fought his way back from a 38th place start to claim a solid 17th at the finish of the stage.
Starting the special stage as the 10th rider to set off, Skyler was quickly up to speed and chasing down the riders ahead of him, once again pushing hard but not taking any unnecessary risks so early on in the event. Enjoying the fast tracks and wet sandy conditions, the American was soon knocking on the door of a top-three finish, eventually bringing his FR 450 Rally home in fourth and just over six minutes behind the day’s stage winner, Sam Sunderland.
One of a number of riders to lose a considerable amount of time during yesterday’s stage one, Luciano Benavides started today’s stage two way back in 38th position. With a large number of competitors ahead of him, the Argentinian worked his way up 20 places before the day’s first checkpoint. Maintaining a strong pace, a small navigational error cost Luciano another few minutes in the latter kilometres of the special, but the young Argentinian was able to hold on to ultimately claim 17th for the day.
Skyler Howes: “The stage went well for me – I felt pretty comfortable riding on the wet sand. The dunes and the fast, sandy tracks were a lot of fun to ride, so today was really enjoyable, especially after some of the stresses of yesterday. I felt like I rode at a pretty good pace, and I’m happy with my result. It puts me in a good position for stage three, so I hope I can maximise on that. My focus is just to keep putting in solid rides, and make sure that I stay focused on the navigation. Overall, I’m really happy with how today went.”
Luciano Benavides: “Day two is done. I started quite far back and thought I would be able to use that to my advantage to make up as much time as I could on the guys in front. But with the rain making the sand really wet, following the tracks in front became very difficult as the route became quite rutted in places and it was difficult to push. I felt good with my rhythm and was still making good time, but then I made a little mistake towards the end of the stage that cost me some minutes. Overall I feel good, and the bike is great – 10 more stages to go.”
2022 Dakar Rally – Stage 2 Provisional Classification
1. Joan Barreda (Honda) 3:31:20
2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:36:53
3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 3:37:14
4. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 3:37:36
5. Toby Price (KTM) 3:38:20
17. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 3:52:41
2022 Dakar Rally – Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 2)
1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 8:31:29
2. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 8:34:20
3. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 8:34:58
4. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 8:35:37
5. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 8:41:28
27. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 9:34:52
More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Honda Team:
First stage win for the Monster Energy Honda Team at the 2022 Dakar. Barreda, the rider with the third highest number of stage victories
With today’s triumph, Joan Barreda now holds a tally of 28 Dakar Rally stage wins. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider is the third most successful motorcycle rider in the rally’s history after Peterhansel and Despres (33). The general standings underwent a slight reshuffle today, with Pablo Quintanilla now in seventh place.
This second stage of the 2022 Dakar Rally brought about some changes as had earlier been predicted. Downpours over the last few days in the northern part of Saudi Arabia caused some flooding, such as the wash-out at the Al Artawiyah bivouac for the Marathon stage. As a consequence, the organisers yesterday decided to switch the stage 2 destination to the camp set up at Al Qaisumah. The 338.43-kilometre special stage, however, remained intact, but with the riders’ liaison section to the new bivouac lengthened for a total 453-kilometre trek. Dunes were the main feature of the day: a quarter of the timed special stage was made up of various ridges of dunes.
Joan Barreda expressed his satisfaction with the day’s proceedings on reaching Al Qaisumah. The Spaniard, who started from a favourable position to attack, let no-one stand between him and his goal, completing the special with a surplus of five-and-a-half minutes over the stage’s nearest second best rider. José Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo was clearly ill at ease on terrain not suited to his style. Elsewhere, American Ricky Brabec – after a dismal stage yesterday where he dropped a lot of time – came out with the intention of whittling down the gap and will hope to improve further over the forthcoming stages.
Pablo Quintanilla was the second RallyGP rider to take the start today. From the chilly bivouac of Ha’il, and after a 183-kilometre liaison section, the Chilean rider tried to keep a close tab on the race leader who had started ahead of him. Quintanilla pressed hard, going on to open the track, but was unable to shake off Sanders. In the end, the handicap of having opened the track had taken its toll with the Chilean making a slight error and losing time but nevertheless managed to limit the damage. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider currently lies in seventh, 12-and-a-half minutes adrift of the leader.
Stage 3 has also been affected due to the change of today’s bivouac. Race organisers yesterday decided to cancel the first sector of the special, so riders will not have to complete the 368-kilometre timed stage. The first riders are expected to arrive back in Al Qaisumah at approximately 13:00.
Ricky Brabec 2
STAGE: 15TH OVERALL: 19TH
I don’t think I had a difficult day today, I didn’t really make any mistakes. It was a very cold day. I started quite far back and for me it was like a motocross track, no navigation. I had a lot of lines to follow. The hardest part was riding in the wet sand with the big ruts that had been made by the bikes that had gone out in front. It was a very fast stage. We started to get into the sand dunes and it was a physical day. It’s only the second day… let’s hope we have energy at the end of the rally! We will keep pushing for the next few days because we are really far behind. Yesterday 90% of the competitors got lost with some notes that didn’t make sense and today I had another problem like that. The Dakar is tough.
Pablo Quintanilla 7
STAGE: 23RD OVERALL: 7TH
It wasn’t such a good stage for me, we knew we were going to lose time; there were 330 kilometres of sand with 80 kilometres of dunes. I was opening up the track from kilometre 170 onwards and at kilometre 260 I made a mistake and lost some time trying to understand what the mistake was so that I could get back on the right track. We’ve had navigation surprises for two days now. For sure this week will be very difficult. We will see how we can face the next stages. I’m calm and we know that there are always good and bad days on the Dakar. We have to stay calm, stay focused and keep optimistic until the end.
José Ignacio Cornejo 11
STAGE: 13TH OVERALL: 18TH
We finished a stage where we suffered a lot from the cold. It was a stage where I felt good, I went better than on the previous days and, although there is something to improve, I think it can come in the coming days. I’m finding my speed and concentration. Let’s see what happens in the next few days. I’ll try to have some good stages to improve in the general standings. I remain positive, the rally has only just started and there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Joan Barreda 88
STAGE: 1ST OVERALL: 10TH
I’m happy with today, especially after yesterday’s hard day, where several riders got lost. To make up time in the general standings is good, and we have to be aware that there are ten days ahead and that anything can happen. We are physically in good shape and we are looking forward to it. We have worked all year to get here in good shape, so now is the time to get it all out. I am also happy to be the third rider in the history of the Dakar with the most stage victories. I’m proud of the work I’ve done over the years and the mark I’ve left.