PM: GasGas, Sonora Rally



The boys are back! And they’re fired up to take on round three of the 2023 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, namely the Sonora Rally. Both Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland and Daniel Sanders missed the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge due to injury, but the pair are now ready to get back to competition, starting next week in Mexico.

It’s been a difficult couple of months for our rally stars, but both Sam and Daniel are back and fired up to attack round three of the world championship. The event looks like it’s going to be pretty demanding – over 2,000 kilometers are covered in total with 1,249 of those raced against the clock over some of the toughest terrain Mexico has to offer. New to the world championship calendar and new to most of the riders, the five-stage race could well throw up some surprises.

Crashing out of the Dakar Rally on stage one was not in the plan for 2022 champion Sam Sunderland. Regrouping and looking to make amends at round two of the world rally-raid series, a hard impact during shakedown resulted in a broken ankle for the Brit. Now, after several weeks of recovery and training, the 34-year-old is hoping it’s third time lucky as he aims to get his 2023 season properly underway with a strong finish in Sonora.

Despite injuring his elbow and suffering for much of this year’s Dakar, Daniel Sanders was able to complete the race in an excellent seventh place overall. Following doctor’s orders, the Aussie chose to sit out the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in order to let his elbow heal up properly. Mexico marks the return of Chucky with the wild man of rally eyeing up a podium finish. And with the varied terrain looking like it should suit Daniel’s flamboyant style, you wouldn’t want to bet against him!

Sam Sunderland:“I think I’m going to scratch off the first part of 2023 and start afresh from here. After all the highs of last year, to crash out of the Dakar was tough, but to train hard and spend so much time away from my family before Abu Dhabi, only to have a super-unfortunate accident the day before the race was really hard. But I’m back now and only looking ahead. It feels great to be reunited with the team, the bike is looking good and working really well, and I’m almost back to full fitness, so that’s a big bonus, too. We’ve got a new adventure to take on in Mexico, it looks like it’s going to be an exciting week, so bring it on.”

Daniel Sanders:“I’m super stoked to be back on the bike and riding. It was good to have a bit of a rest after Dakar – I had to manage my elbow a little and make sure it healed up properly. After that and another follow-up with the doctors it was time to get back on the bike and put in some training. I rode a fair bit of motocross back home in Australia and then went to America to do some important road book training. That’s all gone well, and the bike is feeling good. I’m just excited to go racing again, it’ll take a little while to get into the rhythm, but I’m looking forward to it. Sonora looks cool, it’s a new desert for me at least, but the event has been going for a fair while now. I’d say it’s probably going to stay on the calendar too, so I’ll give it my best, try and learn a bit as we go along, and hopefully get a strong finish.”

Text/Bild: GasGas