He’s back and fired up to impress! Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland is all set to take on the Desafio Ruta 40. After sadly crashing out of the Sonora Rally back in April, Sam arrives in Argentina fighting fit and focused on securing a strong result at the ultra-challenging event.
It’s been quite a break for the riders of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, with round three, the Sonora Rally, finishing just less than four months ago. With Sam crashing out of that race on day two, the downtime gave the Brit plenty of time to get checked out and recover.
Keen to get his 2024 season back on track, Sunderland now faces the five-stage, 2,804-kilometer Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina. Known for its tough terrain and often even tougher navigation, the race will challenge riders with a short prologue on Sunday, August 27 to decide the start order for the first of five long stages raced against the clock.
The event starts in La Rioja and works its way north, through Belen in the Catamarca region, and into Salta for the finish on Friday, September 1. In total, Sam and his rivals will be on the gas for 1,555 kilometers of timed special stage.
Thankfully, Sam escaped his crash at the Sonora Rally without serious injury. Now, looking to ramp things up again ahead of the Dakar Rally early in 2024, the RX 450F racer will be aiming to use the Desafio Ruta 40 to build his speed and confidence, as well as securing a good, solid finish.
Daniel Sanders, who injured his right leg whilst training, is currently in the Red Bull Athlete Performance Center in Austria to work on his recovery. We look forward to seeing the Aussie back on the bike as soon as possible.
Sam Sunderland: “Sonora was a bit of a scary one and also marked strike three for me this season in terms of finishing an event. It’s all been a bit frustrating. I went back to London and had some checks on my knee which I was super worried about, luckily it was only a broken kneecap, and all the ligaments were okay. I got off lightly for the type of crash it was. We’ve had two good tests in the US since then so that’s helped my confidence. I got my feeling back and the freedom I like to ride with. For sure, the main goal here in Argentina has to be to finish, since I haven’t done so well in the first three races. But I’m here to race after all, I didn’t come to just explore the desert! I won my first Dakar here back when it was in Argentina, so flying into Buenos Aires, all the memories of that win came back. Definitely going to be a tough race, but I’m feeling good and looking forward to it.”