Another hot and tough day in the desert, but GASGAS Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland braved the heat and came out fighting! Placing as runner-up on the 290km stage three of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge the RC 450F racer now leads the provisional rally standings by four minutes and twenty-four seconds, with two days left to race.
Sam Sunderland: “Another long, tough day here at the Desert Challenge – it’s so hot here, it seems like they turned the cooker on for us when we arrived. It makes it tough on everyone I suppose. I rode on my own for most of today, which makes it tough to gauge your rhythm against the rest of the field, so I just tried to push and push. I’m back at the top of the overall now, but I think with two days left to go it’s going to be really close to the end.”
The heat is on at the ADDC – literally! Faced with soaring temperatures of up to 40 degrees in the Liwa Desert, Sam faced a tough day of racing on stage three of the 2022 ADDC. Making up the second leg of the event’s marathon stage, the third day of the event was super challenging with a 255km timed special made up primarily of tricky to navigate dunes.
After his ninth-place finish on stage two, Sam was able to get his head down and chase down the rider ahead of him. Despite pushing hard throughout the stage, the reigning Dakar Champion ended up racing much of the special on his own. Maintaining a strong pace and keeping a strong mind, the super-fast Brit was able to bring his RC 450F safely home to the finish in second place, after close to three and a half hours in the saddle.
The excellent performance raises Sam up to the top of the rally standings again where he enjoys an advantage of over four minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Two days of racing remain.
2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Stage 3 Provisional Classification
1. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:24:13
2. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 3:25:14
3. Skyler Howes (Husqvarna) 3:26:43
2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – Provisional Overall Classification [After Stage 3]
1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 11:23:47
2. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 11:28:11
3. Kevin Benavides (KTM) 11:28:15