Sam Sunderland KTM 450 RALLY Abu Dhabi 2017

Photo Credit: Marcin Kin

KTM’s Sam Sunderland has claimed victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, round one of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship.

After what proved to be a competitive week of racing, Dakar Rally winner Sunderland added to his 2017 win tally by topping the podium in Abu Dhabi.

“I'm happy to take the win of course,” told Sunderland. “It's always good, and that's the objective. The team was good all week, and I'm pleased to get the job done. 

“It's almost like a home race for me. I've been close to winning it many times before but to get it done this year feels very cool.”


Antoine Meo KTM 450 RALLY Abu Dhabi 2017

Photo Credit: Marcin Kin

Entering the fifth and final stage of the rally it was Honda’s Paulo Goncalves who held a 33-second lead over KTM’s Matthais Walkner. Husqvarna’s Pela Renet was third with Sunderland fourth overall and 75 seconds adrift. Adding in Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla, 90 second adrift of Goncalves, ensured a final stage showdown.

Turning things around, Sunderland pulled off the 234 kilometre long stage win by almost six minutes over Quintanilla giving him the overall victory.

Quntanilla carded the runner-up result with Walkner claiming third. Goncalves came out worst slipping from first to fourth overall while Pela Renet completed the top five.


Sam Sunderland KTM 450 RALLY Abu Dhabi 2017 1