It’s been a wild week at the Dakar for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders, to the say the least! From the highs of a stage win and leading overall for a couple of days, to the lows of picking up a stomach bug that very nearly ruled Chucky out of the race, it’s been a crazy event so far. But the important thing is, Sanders is still very much in it! Today is the Dakar Rally rest day, offering a chance for Daniel, and the rest of the Red Bull GASGAS team, to enjoy a little down time and reflect on what’s been a largely successful week of epic desert racing. Enjoy the break guys, you’ve earned it.
Daniel Sanders: “That’s the first week done and it’s been up and down that’s for sure. I had a really positive start and led the rally early, but then I picked up a stomach bug and I was really sick for a couple of days. There was one stage that I didn’t think I was going to finish but I dug deep and reached the end to stay in this thing. Overall, the first week was super tough with so many rocky sections, and with the cold weather too it was definitely the hardest first week I’ve ever done at the Dakar. Looking ahead to week two it looks like we’ll be in the dunes a lot more and the goal is to close in on the guys up front, then hopefully I’ll have a shot at the win next Sunday.”
We can’t talk about the 2023 Dakar with mentioning the 2022 champ, Sam Sunderland. Winner of last year’s event, the Brit had high hopes of making it back-to-back wins but frustratingly it just wasn’t to be. After crashing out of the race on stage one and very fortunate to escape serious injury, Sam’s already back home and well on the road to recovery. Heal up soon, Sam!
The Dakar Rally continues tomorrow with stage nine and Daniel Sanders is fired-up to get himself back in the race for victory. Signaling his return to near enough full fitness by clocking in as the second-fastest rider on yesterday’s stage eight, not to mention closing in on the leader by almost 12 minutes in the process, things are lining up nicely heading into week two. Good luck, Chucky.
Norbert Stadlbauer – GASGAS Rally Team Manager: “So far it has been a really challenging Dakar for the team and it was a real shame that we lost Sam Sunderland on day one of the rally. Fortunately, he is recovering well but we still have Daniel Sanders in the race and he is performing very well despite missing most of last year through injury. It was a shame that he picked up a brief illness during the first week but he’s now feeling much better and ready to attack on week two.”
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 8)
1. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 30:34:16
2. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 30:34:29
3. Mason Klein (KTM) 30:34:29
7. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 30:41:19
- From GasGas Factory Racing