Dubai’s Sam Sunderland becomes first British rider to win Dakar Rally

Sam Sunderland on Saturday became the first Briton to win the Dakar Rally motorbike race after the heartbreak of being forced to retire from two previous stagings of the race.

Sam Sunderland on Saturday became the first Briton to win the Dakar Rally motorbike race after the heartbreak of being forced to retire from two previous stagings of the race.

The Dubai-based KTM rider secured victory after the 12th and final special stage, a 64-kilometre race into the Argentine town of Rio Cuarto.

It was an emphatic success for Sunderland in the event, which took in stages in Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina, as he won by 32 minutes from nearest competitor Matthias Walkner.

He had taken the lead on the fifth stage and led for the remainder of the event.

The 27-year-old entered the 2012 and 2014 Dakar rallies but retired each time with mechanical problems. He had won a stage in 2014 to highlight his speed

It is the 16th year in a row that KTM have won the motorbike title.

The 2016 winner, Toby Price of Australia, pulled out of this year’s race during the fourth stage.

Meanwhile in the car category, France’s Stephane Peterhansel won his 13th Dakar Rally title following a tight battle with French Peugeot teammate Sebastien Loeb.

Peterhansel, 51, added the 2017 title to his previous six wins on four wheels and his six on two, the first coming in 1991.

* Agency

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