Australian Sanders wins the Dakar prologue by bike | Chronicle of Eastern Riverina

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Australian motorcyclist Daniel Sanders quickly took the lead in the Dakar rally after winning the race prologue in Saudi Arabia and opening a one-minute gap to his pursuers. The 27-year-old from Victoria, who had a big impact on his debut in last year’s race finishing top rookie and fourth overall in the motorcycle category, started the year with a bang on Saturday in one of the most famous and difficult endurance companies in motorsport. races. “It’s cool to win my first Dakar stage,” said the rider from rural Three Bridges, known in off-road sports as “Chucky”. “I was really comfortable in the stage, the bike was unreal. It’s cool to show speed, but now the sailing has to start tomorrow.” Sanders will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Queenslander Toby Price, a two-time Dakar motorcycle winner who was eighth after the prologue to the 19km sprint of the two-week marathon. On his KTM 450 and representing the Spanish factory team GasGas, Sanders impressively negotiated difficult dunes and dirt tracks in the opening race to Ha’il in northwest Saudi Arabia. to finish with one minute ahead of the Chilean Pablo Quintanilla. “I knew I had to be quick in the prologue. If it wasn’t too much navigation I knew I could be in the top 3 or 5,” said Sanders, whose victory gave him the advantage of a starting position of their choice in the Sunday stage. This is the 44th edition of the rally but only the third to be fully contested in Saudi Arabia. It started in 1978 as a race from Paris to Dakar, the Senegalese capital, but moved from Africa to South America for security reasons in 2009, then to Saudi Arabia in 2020. Au automotive ranking, the Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah is in the lead like last year. the overall finalist got off to a good start in his bid for a fourth victory. Toyota driver Hilux was 12 seconds faster than three-time Spanish winner Carlos Sainz behind the wheel of the electric Audi RS Q e-tron. Audi, with defending champion and 14-time winner Stéphane Peterhansel joining Sainz and Swede Mattias Ekstroem in the squad, are looking to become the first manufacturer to win the Dakar with an electrified powertrain. Peterhansel was ranked 14th, 1:12 off the pace, with Ekstroem 15th. With Reuters Australian Associated Press

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