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Sunderland crashes out of Dakar

After winning both the first and third days of the rally to hold the lead, Briton Sam Sunderland crashed two-thirds of the way through today’s stage forced the 2017 Dakar champion to abandon the rally.

Alex Doringer – KTM Rally Team Manager, said:  “Unfortunately Sam had an accident today whilst searching for a waypoint around the 230km mark. He jumped into a hole and compressed his back. Although he was able to continue for the next five kilometres, he was then forced to retire when the pain became too bad. Initially he was airlifted back to the bivouac but was then taken onto the hospital in Lima for further checks. I managed to talk to Sam, before he flew to hospital, and although disappointed, he was still in good spirits. Overall, the team is performing well, and we’re pleased with how the rally is going.”

In total contrast, everything went according to plan for Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren on Tuesday’s stage four of the Dakar. Making full use of his advantageous starting position – within the second group of riders – he put his vast sand racing experience to good use. Remaining focused on his navigation and pushing hard until the very end, he completed the timed special stage five minutes faster than his teammate Xavier de Soultrait and a blistering seven minutes faster than the rest of the field.

Four stages into this year’s Dakar Rally and Van Beveren is currently leading the overall standings by a little less than two minutes over his closest rival Pablo Quintanilla. With still a long way to go in this 40th edition of the event, Adrien remains focused on the ultimate goal of making history by bringing Yamaha back to the top of the Dakar Rally.

Fast from the get go, Xavier de Soultrait enjoyed his best stage to date in this year’s event. Being among the first group of riders to take the start, the Frenchman found himself provisionally leading the pack, only to be passed by his team-mate Van Beveren after the halfway mark. Securing the runner-up spot of the stage, Xavier is now fifth in the rally’s provisional overall standings, seven minutes and 34 seconds behind Adrien.

Stage four saw Franco Caimi put in yet another strong performance in this year’s Dakar Rally. Avoiding any costly mistakes the young rider from Argentina claimed 11th on the stage to move up to eighth in the overall standings.

Enjoying a mistake-free performance, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Rodney Faggoter has now made it into the top 20 in the rally’s overall standings. Securing 21st on stage four, the Aussie racer is now 18th in the overall standings.

Yamaha’s domination continues in the quad class of the 2018 Dakar Rally. With Sergei Kariakin winning the stage, Chile’s Ignacio Casale retains the provisional overall lead after stage four of the rally.

Leaving the San Juan de Marcona bivouac and heading south, competitors will have to race a 266km-long special stage on their way to the city of Arequipa tomorrow. The fifth stage of the 2018 Dakar Rally will be one more test for their strength and stamina as the race slowly moves towards the high fields of Bolivia.

Adrien Van Beveren – Yamalube Yamaha Official Team #4

1st Stage 4 / 1st Overall

“I am happy with the victory on this stage. We all started together on the beach and I was in the second group of riders to take the start. It reminded me a lot of the massive start in Le Touquet and it was great fun for me. I knew I had to stay focused on my riding and navigation and this is exactly what I did. We came across some parts where there was a lot of dust during the stage. My goal was to win it, so I knew I had to be patient and attack whenever that was possible. It all went well for me and I managed to pass many riders even from the first group. When we reached the big dunes we raced alongside Xavier and actually helped each other to the finish. It was a great day for me and a great day for Yamaha. We proved that we have a bike capable of winning long stages. There is still a long way to go but I will do my best to keep this momentum going.”


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