Dakar 2014 Stage 2 Motorcycle Results | Honda’s Sunderland Fastest
2014 Dakar Rally – HRC Honda’s Sunderland Wins Stage 2
When Honda entered the Dakar Rally last year following a 23-year absence, the team was hungry to add to its total of five wins. Though there were some troubles last season and complete domination from KTM – which took the top-five overall finishes – Team HRC Honda is on a tear so far in the 2014 Dakar Rally, which will take riders 5427 miles in 14 days.
HRC’s top rider Joan Barreda Bort won the opening stage, which was the longest of the 2014 Dakar Rally. But following Tuesday’s Dakar 2014 stage two – which took riders 450 miles from San Luis to San Rafael in Argentina with a 223-mile timed special and 227-mile liaison – another Team rider finished on top.
This Honda CRF 450 Rally pilot was Sam Sunderland, the 23-year-old Englishman taking his first-ever Dakar stage win. And the victory was well deserved; Sunderland had nothing but bad luck in the last two Dakar Rallies. In 2012, he dropped out following three days, and during last year’s Dakar Rally, which was also held in South America, Sunderland was forced to withdraw due to fracturing both of his wrists while training for the Rally.
Dakar official news reports say having started behind his teammate Barreda, Sunderland overtook Michael Metge (Yamaha) and Juan Pedrero (Sherco) on the first part of the route. However, it was in the portion of dunes towards the end of the special that the resident of Dubai showed his youthful but confident and masterful experience of sand.
Dakar official news says “on the finishing line he marvelously grabbed his first special stage victory, after only 4 days spent on the Dakar in total and can now claim to be a serious outsider for the podium…as long as he can maintain this excellent form and pace, as well as avoiding mistakes.”
Taking second was Red Bull KTM’s Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, who finished 39 seconds behind Sunderland. In third was stage-one winner Barreda, who made no mistakes, finishing 2 minutes behind Sunderland.
Barreda continues to hold the overall lead after two of 14 stages with a total time of 6 hours, 9 minutes and 41 seconds (06:09:41). Following 2 minutes and 3 seconds back in second is Lopez, with Sunderland in third, 2 minutes 33 seconds back.
The two most popular Dakar riders – three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma and five-time Dakar winner and reigning champ Cyril Despres – didn’t have the best results Tuesday, though it’s early in the world’s “toughest” rally.
Red Bull KTM’s Coma, who didn’t compete at last year’s rally due to recovering from a broken shoulder sustained at the Morocco Rally, finished stage two in ninth. The Spaniard is now fifth overall behind Sherco’s Alain Duclos, trailing Barreda by 7 minutes.
As for the Frenchman Despres, who joined the factory Yamaha squad last year following five Dakar victories with KTM, he finished 10th in stage two; he is now eighth overall, trailing Barreda by 8 minutes 23 seconds.
Check out the stage-two action during the “Dakar Rally Series,” which will air on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday. Sunday’s stage-one review will air tonight at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. For the entire broadcast USA “Dakar Rally Series” schedule, click here.
2014 Dakar Rally Stage Two Quotes:
Sam Sunderland (Team HRC Honda CRF 450 Rally) says: There weren’t so many dunes, maybe 50 km or so, but it was definitely a lot of fun and a big mixture of terrains and different type of riding – some technical stuff, then some really high speed stuff.
“All in all for me it was a good stage. I arrived at the finish in the top seven. They said I was first, so we’ll wait and see if anyone else comes in faster than that. I’ll be really happy if I take the stage. It will be the first one for me on the Dakar. It’s great.
“The bike was awesome. Without all the work that goes on behind the scenes this is nothing, as you know, so I’m really grateful for the opportunity from Honda and all my sponsors. Hopefully I can carry on in this direction and have a good overall finish.”
Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally) says: “Today the first part was very, very speedy and the second part was very sandy with dunes. That was ok for my machine. The end was very technical, but I think it was a good day. For me it was good and I’m happy for the new team. My motorbike was the second best today so I‘m very happy. The Dakar is very long. For me the finish in Valparaiso is very important, but today was ok.”
Joan Barreda (Team HRC Honda CRF 450 Rally) says: “It was a long and hard stage, with fast tracks at the beginning. I fully concentrated on the off-track navigation through a 50 km dune section at the last third of the stage. I could manage to build up a gap on my rivals, but a bull decided to run in my way at high speed with 60 km before the finish.
“I braked hard and had trouble to avoid a crash. I still got in touch with the animal and the impact destroyed my roadbook system. By ´manual´ navigation, I made it to the finish without losing too much time, and I am happy to finish inside the top three and keep the overall lead.”
Marc Coma (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally) says: “It was a very nice day. I had a problem when I got a stone between my gears and my engine and this lead to me blocking my gearbox, so I had to stop to take it out. After that it was possible to continue without problems. It took a few minutes, but it’s just like that sometimes. I’m happy that even after getting some trouble like this I’m still in the race and still in the fight.”
Cyril Despres (Red Bull Yamaha YZF450 Rally) says: Well it was a really, really fast first part of the stage. The bike is not going too fast because we want to save the engine a bit, that’s our choice. But it was ok.
“Marc and Joan Barreda overtook me and gained quite a lot of minutes at refueling, but after that I managed to come back in the dunes. I had a little crash on the side of a dune and I saw some stars afterwards! I also smashed my camel back so I haven’t had water for 100 km. It was tough.”
2014 Dakar Rally: A Look at Stage 3 (Tuesday, Jan. 7)
Stage 2 will take riders 450 miles from San Luis to San Rafael in Argentina (227 mile liaison, 223 mile special).
2014 Dakar Rally Stage Two Results:
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2014 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Stage Two of 13):
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