PROMISING START TO SONORA RALLY FOR SANDERS AND SUNDERLAND.
RED BULL GASGAS FACTORY RACING RALLY DUO SAFELY THROUGH OPENING STAGE OF MEXICAN EVENT WITH SANDERS SECOND FASTEST AND JUST SIX SECONDS FROM THE WIN.
Back racing and tearing up the Sonora Desert! Putting their various early-season injuries behind them, Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s rally stars Daniel Sanders and Sam Sunderland have successfully completed the first full stage at the Sonora Rally – round three of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship – with Sanders bringing his GASGAS RX 450F home in impressive style to earn a runner-up result with Sunderland two minutes back in fifth.
Getting into his rhythm early on during the Sonora Rally’s opening 170-kilometre special stage, despite catching the dust of a few riders ahead of him, Daniel Sanders enjoyed a relatively straightforward day. Just six seconds down on eventual winner Tosha Schareina, when combined with his 10th place Prologue result, Sanders sits second overall heading into the second day’s 286-kilometer special.
Not wanting to take any risks on his return to competition, and wanting to get a good feel for the Mexican desert, Sam Sunderland overcame a small navigational error early in the special stage to secure the fifth-fastest time, just two minutes down on winner Schareina.
Daniel Sanders:“It was a good day for me. I started back in 13th and was a little unsure about the dust as it looked really dry on the fast tracks. But I got into a nice rhythm in the tighter, flowing corners, so some of what we rode felt a little like enduro. I caught up to Kevin (Benavides) and managed to get past him and away from his dust. There was one tricky note early on, so it was only really dust that was a bit of an issue from time-to-time. It was nice to get out into a desert that I’ve not raced in before and start learning what it’s like. Also, it’s been a while since I’ve sat behind a road book in anger, so all-in-all it was good to get back to racing and through the first day here in Mexico.”
Results Sonora Rally 2023 – stage 1 (provisional)
1. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 1:33:25
2. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 1:33:31
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 1:34:06
5. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 1:35:29
Provisional Standings – Sonora Rally 2023 (after stage 1)
1. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 2:17:57
2. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 2:18:51
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 2:19:26
9. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 2:21:21