KTM’s Dakar rookie, Australian Daniel Sanders, admits he should have followed his instincts when he opened the road after last year’s champion lost.
Sanders was the third fastest in the prologue behind Ricky Brabec and Joan Barreda Bort, the team-mate of the 2020 Dakar winner, and followed the Honda drivers on the first stage.
When they got off course before the first waypoint, the 26 year old Victorian had to figure out whether to follow the more experienced riders or go his own way, which was costing him time.
Sanders is now 25th. Overall position, 19:01 back from compatriot and KTM Factory Team rider Toby Price, who won the stage.
« I started off well with the road book and then saw the Honda guys turn left on this point and I wasn’t sure because it’s my first year and not too much navigation [experience], though I should have trusted my instincts and followed the cat when it changed.
« Then I sat there, then Ross [Branch] caught up and we had a little discussion about it and in the end I immediately lost three minutes to Ross and Ross lost a little there too.
« In the end we kept going and my instincts were right and I should have just taken that, so we immediately lost a lot of time with the Honda guys and then we just kept hacking and getting changed. ”
Sanders was 18. fastest stage time set before a seven minute penalty was added hence its overall ranking.
« It was really cool to take the stage and lead the guys on my first day on my first Dakar, » remarked the Australian off-road champion.
« We just kept pushing during the day so we wouldn’t lose too much time, but all in all it was a really good day and no falls, the bike is good, I’m still good, so ready for tomorrow. « . ”
Sanders is second among the Australians in the classification, with Michael Burgess (BAS Dakar KTM) on 35th. and Andrew Houlihan (Nomadas Adventure) on the 69. place.
Both are also on the debut, and Burgess jokes that the rocks were « like Mars » at one point.
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Ricky Brabec, Dakar Rally, Rallye, Joan Barreda, 2021, Toby Price, Motorsport
World news – AU – Rookie Sanders caught by faulty Honda stars – Speedcafe
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