Dakar 2022: ’One of the toughest days of my life’ - Petrucci

| | MotoGPWorld News
Picture: KTM

Tech3 KTM’s Danilo Petrucci completed the 11th and penultimate stage of Dakar 2022 17th after an arduous 346km special.

One of the most challenging stages of the rally, Thursday’s route combined technically demanding navigation with extremely soft sand, dunes, and even a sandstorm to contend with, testing the riders and their machines to the limit.

Petrucci continued to impress on his Dakar debut, completing the stage just 23 minutes off the winner, fellow KTM rider Kevin Benavides, to come home 17th with just 680 kilometers left of his desert adventure.

“It was one of the toughest days of my life today,” Petrucci admitted on Thursday afternoon. “I got a little lost early on with some other riders and then after that there were some really soft dunes. I have never seen anything like that before, it was really tiring to ride through.

“Then we raced through a huge sandstorm where it was really difficult to find your way and stay focused on your navigation. Luckily, after the refueling it was ok - the sand was still really soft, but it wasn’t so tricky.

“Unfortunately at one point I hit a piece of wood that was hidden underneath the sand and I had a big crash and hurt my shoulder. I was able to make it to the finish, but it did give me a lot of pain. We have one more day to go, so I’m looking forward to reaching the finish.”

Britain’s Sam Sunderland was back in charge overall with just one day of competition remaining, after the GasGas rider completed the penultimate trial in second, just four seconds down on Benavides. The Brit holds a near-seven-minute advantage over Pablo Quintanilla and Matthias Walkner heading onto the final stage.