Britain’s Sam Sunderland grabbed third in the 2019 Dakar after Red Bull KTM team-mate and day-two leader Mattias Walkner crashed on the third stage.
Xavier de Soultrait beat the odds after two difficult days and turned the tribulations of his adversaries to his advantage in a masterful performance during today’s diabolical stage.
The Yamaha rider defeated Pablo Quintanilla by a whisker to claim his first Dakar stage win, with the Chilean Husqvarna rider taking the overall lead by a comfortable margin.
“It was a really tricky stage, there was a lot of fog on the top of one of the mountains and that made riding and navigation tough. The only thing you could do was ease down on your pace a little and take a lot of care. At one point visibility was down to just a few metres,” said Sunderland.
“The road book had a lot of long notes that weren’t as clear as they could have been and I think a few people struggled with that. As the day went on the riders grouped up and that is always a bit unpredictable because you don’t know what the other guys are going to do. This is the Dakar though, we know it’s difficult and we know we’ll have stages like this. It’s still early days so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Overall standings after stage three
1 006 P. QUINTANILLA HUSQVARNA 08:34:28 0:00:00 00:00:00
2 047 K. BENAVIDES HONDA 08:45:51 0:11:23 00:00:00
3 014 S. SUNDERLAND KTM 08:46:40 0:12:12 00:00:00
4 004 A. VAN BEVEREN YAMAHA 08:47:57 0:13:29 00:00:00
5 003 T. PRICE KTM 08:49:45 0:15:17 00:00:00
6 018 X. DE SOULTRAIT YAMAHA 08:51:20 0:16:52 00:00:00
7 015 R. BRABEC HONDA 08:52:30 0:18:02 00:00:00
8 001 M. WALKNER KTM 08:55:42 0:21:14 00:00:00
9 002 P. GONCALVES HONDA 08:59:39 0:25:11 00:00:00
10 029 A. SHORT HUSQVARNA 09:03:43 0:29:15 00:00:00