Sam Sunderland Bivouac Dakar 2017 1200

With Dakar’s week one over and a well-earned rest day complete, it’s KTM’s Sam Sunderland who leads the way into week two.

It’s been a very eventful week in the 2016 Dakar, here’s a run down of where things stand as the the action gets going again.

KTM top the standings with Sunderland at the helm. Sunderland holds a 12-minute lead but as things have shown last week, it’s still only by a whisker.

Incidentally, starting stage 7 is the furthest Sunderland has ever got his is Dakar career, so it will be a week of unknown for the Brit.

Behind Sunderland, it’s Pablo Quintanilla for Husqvarna in second with Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren four minutes adrift of Quintanilla in third.

Frenchman Van Beveren is competing in his second Dakar.

dakar rally 2017 6GTCDTH6SOEYT7GFR04W

Eighth in 2016, Spain’s Gerrard Farres is fourth on his privateer Himoinsa KTM. 

A stage win for Walkner should see him higher up the order but another stage of getting lost dropped him fifth.

Like Marc Coma promised, navigation is proving a bugger in 2017. It’s not about twisting the throttle as hard as you can, it’s about knowing where you’re going and trusting your instincts first.

It’s been a bittersweet week for Honda as they look out of place in ninth with Paulo Goncalves and Joan Barreda in 11th.

Barreda struck big on stage three to pull a monster gap but the following stage it went to pot as officials hit all team members with a one-hour penalty for refuelling in the wrong place.

Goncalves has one-hour and eighth minutes to find on Sunderland meaning he could potentially be the leader if that penalty didn’t stand.

Sitting tenth is Hero Speedbrain’s Joakim Rodrigues. He is also the top rookie of 2017 — 17 minutes up on Franco Caimi (Honda) in 13th.

dakar 2017 Bivouac Dakar 2017

There was some beef earlier between Rodrigues and Laia Sanz with Sanz saying Rodrigues deliberately pointed her in the wrong direction during some confusion with a way-point. 

Sanz is 25th overall and looking to make some time up this as the going gets tougher.

Runner-up in 2016, Stefan Svitko is not having the best of rides in 2017 and is 19th overall.

Defending Dakar champ Toby Price is out having broken his leg on stage 4.

The Malle Moto class is currently led by Cristian Espana Munoz (22nd) from Loic Minaudier (27th) and Marc Sola (32nd).

Struck by lightning on stage 4 but going on to start stage 5, Slovak Ivan Jakes was an unfortunate retirement at the end of that day. 

dakar rally 2017 Sam Sunderland KTM 450 RALLY Bivouac Dakar 2017

At the end of rest day there were still 111 bikes in the race.

Stage 6 was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions 

Persistent bad weather conditions forced the race directors to change the course of stage 7 from La Paz to Uyuni. A new course was designed and a new road book was drafted during the rest day.

The new course is an unprecedented combination of the original routes of stages 6 and 7. Today's 161 km special will mainly take place on sandy terrain, sandwiched between a 400 km link section and another one 240 km long. 

The special starts at 10 am, with the first motorcycles expected to reach the Uyuni bivouac at 3.30 pm.


Photos: Yamaha, KTM, Marcin Kin