Sunderland: Stage 7 navigation “a bit of a casino”

#03 Sunderland Sam (aus), GasGas Factory Racing, KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica, Moto, W2RC, portrait during the second stage of the Dakar 2022 between Hail and Al Artawiya, in Saudi Arabia on January 3, 2022.

Sam Sunderland has reflected on a difficult day for himself and GasGas Factory Racing at stage 7 of the 2022 Dakar Rally.

Sunderland lost a lot of time during Sunday’s stage. He finished 28th, having lost almost 26 minutes to the winner Nacho Cornejo. Most importantly, he dropped down to P4 in the overall standings.

The Briton admitted that the navigation was extremely challenging.

“It was a bit of a rough day. It started out bad for Sanders with a crash in the liaison and then the stage was really, really difficult with the navigation, so not ideal to start in front,” Sunderland said.

“Where the rains have passed through after the 00 car, so many of the tracks are washed away, so it’s a bit of a casino. You just flip a coin and hope it’s that one. Honestly, it’s a bit frustrating, but at the same time, I’m sure the next days will be the same for the other guys.

“Even yesterday, when people were asking if I was excited about leading the race, of course, it’s cool, but it means nothing on the rest day. We still have so many long days in front of us and I’m sure there’ll be some more opportunities to attack, to recuperate some time.

“I’m happy for [Adrien Van Beveren, the new bikes category leader], but at the same time, he’ll have to open tomorrow, so he’ll have the same job. This is a race and why it’s interesting.”

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