Sanders jumps into Dakar lead with Stage 3 win
Tuesday 3rd January, 2023 - 9:49pm
Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders has moved into the overall lead of Dakar 2023 with a sizeable win on Stage 3 of the event.
That decision gave him a more favourable road position for the 447km special between Al Ula and Ha’il, from which the Australian converted.
He was among the quickest throughout a special which featured a mixture of sand and gravel tracks, and enjoyed a winning margin of 5:23s over Red Bull KTM’s Kevin Benavides and 56 seconds more to Skyler Howes (Husqvarna Factory) at the finish line.
The 28-year-old’s advantage atop the overall classification is 4:04s, with previous leader Mason Klein (BAS World KTM) now in second place and Benavides another 49 seconds back in third*.
Klein was first onto the road by virtue of his win on the day prior and the new opener bonus meant he was still the official leader at Kilometre 240 of a stage which featured some light rain and puddles.
However, that compensation for the burdening of blazing the trail ends at 240km, yet the American continued to cede time on the road relative to his key rivals.
Sanders pulled clear thereafter and Benavides assumed second place at Kilometre 335, by which point Ricky Brabec had crashed his Monster Energy Honda.
Klein would finish fourth on the stage, one position and officially 40 seconds behind compatriot Howes, who also benefited from opener bonuses.
Joan Barreda Bort (Monster Energy JB Honda) rounded out the top five for the day, with Toby Price (Red Bull KTM) sixth, 12:14s slower than Sanders.
Pablo Quintanilla (Monster Energy Honda) was seventh on the stage, ahead of Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda), Joaquim Rodrigues (Hero Motosports), and Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (Monster Energy Honda).
In the overall classification, it is Sanders, Klein, Benavides, and then Howes at 8:35s from the lead, followed by Barreda Bort in fifth as the Spaniard perseveres with a fractured big toe after hitting a rock on Stage 2.
Price is sixth, exactly 11 minutes off the pace, ahead of Quintanilla, Adrien Van Beveren (Monster Energy Honda), Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM), and Ross Branch (Hero Motosports).
Stage 4 is a sand-heavy loop around Ha’il where navigation will be key, with action to recommence tomorrow afternoon (AEDT).
Overall classification: Bikes Top 10, Updated*
|1||Daniel SANDERS||AUS||Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing||14:05:38|
|2||Mason KLEIN||USA||BAS World KTM Racing Team||+0:04:04|
|3||Kevin BENAVIDES||ARG||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+0:06:53|
|4||Skyler HOWES||USA||Husqvarna Factory Racing||+0:08:35|
|5||Joan BARREDA BORT||ESP||Monster Energy JB Team||+0:10:37|
|6||Toby PRICE||AUS||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+0:11:00|
|7||Pablo QUINTANILLA||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||+0:16:56|
|8||ADRIEN VAN BEVEREN||FRA||Monster Energy Honda Team||+0:21:30|
|9||Matthias WALKNER||AUT||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+0:22:02|
|10||ROSS BRANCH||BOT||Hero Motosports Team Rally||+0:23:42|
* Kevin Benavides 2min penalty (gap to leader now 6:53s)