And we’re racing! The 46th edition of the Dakar Rally is officially underway and for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s talented duo of Daniel Sanders and Sam Sunderland, both riders delivered calculated rides to secure solid results on what proved a challenging opening stage. With Sanders placing ninth and Sunderland not too far behind in 13th, the two teammates focused on reaching the stage one finish line safe and sound and they both achieved exactly what they set out to do. Great job, guys…

  • Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing make a positive start to Dakar 2024
  • Sanders and Sunderland safely through a gnarly opening stage
  • Promising start for both riders at the 46th edition of the Dakar

Despite being out of action due to injury for quite some time before this year’s Dakar, Daniel Sanders arrived with confidence and clearly hadn’t lost any of his raw speed. After finishing as a close runner-up on yesterday’s prologue, the Aussie carried that momentum into the first proper stage of the Dakar to post the ninth-fastest time. With the first timed special now done and dusted, Sanders lies ninth overall and less than five minutes adrift of the early rally leader.

As a two-time winner of the event, Sam Sunderland knows full well just how tough the Dakar can be, although the gnarly nature of the first timed special did come as a bit of a surprise to the Brit. But by remaining focused on completing the stage unscathed, Sam successfully brought himself and his RX 450F home in 13th place after well over five hours of racing through some seriously tough, rocky terrain.

Daniel Sanders: “We were rock ‘n’ rolling out there today! I wish I set the bike up a little differently for today as for the first stage, it was pretty gnarly. It kinda feels like we’ve done five days already! The priority for today was to not crash and I didn’t, so I was happy to reach the finish with no problems. With the team we'll make a few bike set-up changes for tomorrow and go again.”

Sam Sunderland: “A really tough stage today. It was actually pretty fun to begin with, but after refueling we were into some volcanic rocks, which wasn’t as much fun. However, this is the Dakar and it’s meant to be tough. I was able to stay on two wheels today and I’m looking forward to making the best of the days ahead.”

Provisional Results: Dakar Rally 2024, stage 1
1. Ross Branch (Hero) 4:56:01
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 5:06:55
3. Mason Klein (KOVE) 5:07:20
9. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 5:12:55
14. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 5:18:47

Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 1)
1. Ross Branch (Hero) 5:13:55
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 5:25:49
3. Mason Klein (KOVE) 5:25:53
9. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 5:30:42
13. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 5:36:50