After easing themselves into the 2024 Dakar Rally on stage one, Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland and Daniel Sanders certainly turned things up a notch on day two. Faring best for the potent pairing was Sunderland who, despite riding through a lot of dust, clocked in with the sixth-fastest time to advance to seventh in the provisional standings. Meanwhile, for Sanders, a couple of small mistakes proved costly, but the good news is, he’s perfected the set-up of his RX 450F and his unquestionable raw speed returned on stage two. Chucky placed 12th and slides up the leaderboard to sixth overall.
It was thought that Sam Sunderland’s 14th place start on stage two would be to his advantage, however, after making up ground early on, the Brit would soon be in the dust of the leading riders. Nevertheless, Sam knows full well that every stage result counts and maintained his focus to the very end of the 463-kilometer special. Racing across the line to post the sixth-fastest time, the two-time Dakar champ is positive of even better days ahead.
Even with his 12th place finish on stage two, Daniel Sanders advances up to sixth in what matters most – the overall classification. On paper, his stage two result may not look the best but by posting consistent results through the opening two stages, the wily Australian has crept up the leaderboard to knock on the door of the top five. Let’s hope he doesn’t get caught up in too much dust on stage three and we may well see some magic by the man from down under.
Sam Sunderland: “Honestly, today I felt much better out there than yesterday. It was a pretty fast stage today and another long, tough one. I rode in the dust a lot so focusing was important and yeah, I’m happy to be here at the finish line of stage two. I think I’m a little off the pace of where I need to be, but we’ll get there step by step.”
Daniel Sanders: “I wish I rode with today’s bike set-up yesterday, but we can’t change that now. I was much more comfortable today but unfortunately, I made a couple of navigational mistakes that cost me some time. But the main thing is, I felt completely comfortable on the bike, which is the main thing. I now just need to focus on my roadbook going forwards and we’ll be good. Not a bad day overall despite losing some time, but we’re here safe and sound at the end of day two and ready to fight another day.”
Provisional Results: Dakar Rally 2024, stage 2
1. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 4:27:17
2. Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 4:30:16
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 4:30:29
6. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 4:31:34
12. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 4:36:47
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 2)
1. Ross Branch (Hero) 9:50:05
2. Jose Ignacio Cornejo (Honda) 9:53:00
3. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 09:57:20
6. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 10:07:29
7. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 10:08:24