Sunderland is back in with a chance of the title

Britain’s Sam Sunderland took victory in today’s 11th 2021 Dakar stage and closed in on overall leader Kevin Benavides.

Third overall coming into today’s stage and with an advantageous start position of eighth, the Red Bull KTM man set off 15 minutes behind the rally leader with every intention of chasing him down.

Knowing the long special offered a great chance to improve his position in the overall classification, Sunderland made the best use of his speed and experience to close in on his rivals.

Taking the lead of the stage by the fourth checkpoint at kilometre 215, the Brit remained in front on time from there to the finish.

Although a small navigational error cost him some minutes in the final kilometres, Sunderland claimed the win on the stage and did enough to move himself up to second in the provisional overall standings.

“I gave my all today – I knew this stage would be one of the best chances I had to make up time on the guys in front,” said Sunderland.

“It’s great to win the stage, but it means I have to open tomorrow for the last day, which will be hard. Still, anything can happen as we know, and I’ll keep fighting right to the end.

“It’s been another really long, tough stage but I’m grateful to be able to just race my bike through the desert, especially with everything that is going on in the world at the moment.

“I’m grateful to my team too for all the hard work they have put in to get us here. The plan now is to do my best again tomorrow and we’ll see where we are.”

2021 Dakar overall standings after stage 11

147(ARG) KEVIN BENAVIDESMONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 202145H 01′ 44”00H 02′ 00”
25(GBR) SAM SUNDERLANDRED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM45H 05′ 56”+ 00H 04′ 12”
31(USA) RICKY BRABECMONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 202145H 08′ 57”+ 00H 07′ 13”
421(AUS) DANIEL SANDERSKTM FACTORY TEAM45H 34′ 49”+ 00H 33′ 05”00H 07′ 00”
59(USA) SKYLER HOWESBAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM45H 50′ 51”+ 00H 49′ 07”00H 06′ 00”
615(ESP) LORENZO SANTOLINOSHERCO FACTORY45H 51′ 10”+ 00H 49′ 26”
72(CHL) PABLO QUINTANILLAROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING46H 02′ 02”+ 01H 00′ 18”
842(FRA) ADRIEN VAN BEVERENMONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM46H 27′ 30”+ 01H 25′ 46”00H 20′ 00”
911(SVK) STEFAN SVITKOSLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM46H 28′ 24”+ 01H 26′ 40”
1031(CZE) MARTIN MICHEKORION – MOTO RACING GROUP47H 16′ 39”+ 02H 14′ 55”00H 03′ 00”
1152(AUT) MATTHIAS WALKNERRED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM47H 31′ 04”+ 02H 29′ 20”00H 02′ 00”
1227(PRT) JOAQUIM RODRIGUESHERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY47H 40′ 42”+ 02H 38′ 58”00H 22′ 00”
1374(ESP) JAUME BETRIUFN SPEED – KTM TEAM48H 08′ 51”+ 03H 07′ 07”00H 06′ 00”
1432(ESP) TOSHA SCHAREINAFN SPEED – KTM TEAM48H 28′ 16”+ 03H 26′ 32”
1524(DEU) SEBASTIAN BÜHLERHERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY48H 50′ 17”+ 03H 48′ 33”00H 18′ 00”
1617(ESP) JOAN PEDRERO GARCIAFN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM49H 00′ 06”+ 03H 58′ 22”
1787(ESP) ORIOL MENAFN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM49H 07′ 11”+ 04H 05′ 27”
1826(CZE) MILAN ENGELORION – MOTO RACING GROUP50H 52′ 53”+ 05H 51′ 09”00H 01′ 00”
1944(ESP) LAIA SANZGAS GAS FACTORY TEAM51H 07′ 48”+ 06H 06′ 04”00H 10′ 00”
2019(PRT) RUI GONCALVESSHERCO FACTORY51H 23′ 19”+ 06H 21′ 35”00H 15′ 00”
2130(LTU) ARUNAS GELAZNINKASZIGMAS DAKAR TEAM52H 13′ 59”+ 07H 12′ 15”
2233(IND) HARITH NOAH KOITHA VEETTILSHERCO FACTORY52H 17′ 27”+ 07H 15′ 43”00H 02′ 00”
2354(FRA) CAMILLE CHAPELIERETEAM BAINES RALLY52H 31′ 41”+ 07H 29′ 57”01H 01′ 00”
2429 (ROU) EMANUEL GYENESAUTONET MOTORCYCLE TEAM53H 23′ 10”+ 08H 21′ 26”00H 02′ 00”
25101(GBR) DAVID KNIGHTHT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING53H 24′ 18”+ 08H 22′ 34”00H 24′ 00”
2639(FRA) BENJAMIN MELOTBENJAMIN MELOT53H 55′ 04”+ 08H 53′ 20”00H 01′ 00”
2725(NLD) PAUL SPIERINGSHT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING54H 13′ 48”+ 09H 12′ 04”
2880(AUS) MICHAEL BURGESSBAS DAKAR KTM RACING TEAM55H 01′ 07”+ 09H 59′ 23”00H 39′ 00”
2963(POL) KONRAD DABROWSKIDUUST RALLY TEAM55H 35′ 20”+ 10H 33′ 36”
3053(CZE) LIBOR PODMOLPODMOL DAKAR TEAM55H 50′ 05”+ 10H 48′ 21”00H 15′ 00”
3137 (CZE) DAVID PABISKAJANTAR TEAM56H 11′ 03”+ 11H 09′ 19”00H 01′ 00”
3248(FRA) MATHIEU DOVEZENOMADE RACING ASSISTANCE56H 16′ 27”+ 11H 14′ 43”00H 05′ 00”
3395(FRA) XAVIER FLICKXTREM RACING56H 45′ 51”+ 11H 44′ 07”
3441(CHN) ZAKER YAKPWU PU DA HAI DAO DAKAR RALLY TEAM57H 59′ 54”+ 12H 58′ 10”00H 42′ 00”
35108(ESP) MARC CALMETFN SPEED – RIEJU TEAM60H 38′ 37”+ 15H 36′ 53”00H 02′ 00”
3686(FRA) CHARLIE HERBSTDRAG’ON RALLY TEAM61H 47′ 20”+ 16H 45′ 36”00H 23′ 00”
3746(SVN) SIMON MARCICMARCIC62H 08′ 46”+ 17H 07′ 02”00H 45′ 00”
3884(GBR) NEIL HAWKERNEIL HAWKER62H 24′ 17”+ 17H 22′ 33”00H 09′ 00”
3978(ITA) CESARE ZACCHETTICESARE ZACCHETTI64H 04′ 04”+ 19H 02′ 20”00H 32′ 00”
4081 (SVK) ERIK VLCAKSLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM64H 14′ 45”+ 19H 13′ 01”00H 27′ 00”