Go Chucky! Putting in a strong ride through the desert, Daniel Sanders has taken his first day win at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and now lies second overall in the provisional standings – less than one minute behind the leader.
Daniel Sanders: “Yeah, happy with that. It was a good stage today, I rode really well this morning and caught up to the guys ahead quicker than I thought I would. From there we just rode in a pack. It wasn’t too tricky after the refueling, we took it in turns to lead and I just made sure I didn’t make any big mistakes or crash. The day went well – I felt comfortable on the bike today and was able to relax a little, which means I could concentrate more on the road book, too. It all came together really well. It was a long day in the dunes and certainly tiring, but I’m still feeling good and looking forward to opening tomorrow. For sure, it’s not going to be easy, but it’s really good experience for me, so hopefully I’ll do a good job and not lose too much time to the others.”
Increasing his experience and continuing to learn the terrain of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Sanders has once again shown he’s right up there with the very best. Setting off third into the 293km special, Daniel immediately set about chasing down his two closest rivals ahead of him. With his GASGAS RC 450F performing perfectly beneath him, the young Aussie was able to catch up and take the stage lead by the second checkpoint.
With the three rally leaders grouped up and riding together, it was difficult to make up any more time, but Daniel was still able to focus on his navigation and ultimately finish the stage just under three minutes ahead of the second-placed rider. His advantage at the end of the day means that Sanders moves up to second overall in the event standings and lies just 57 seconds behind the provisional rally leader.
Wednesday’s stage four is the penultimate of the rally and will cover a total of just over 400km. Leading out, Sanders will face a tough timed special of 251.98km.
Results (provisional): Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2021, stage 3
1. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 3:59:09
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 4:01:53
3. Andrew Short (Yamaha) 4:02:15
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 3)
1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 11:54:24
2. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 11:55:22
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 12:00:04