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GASGAS Rally Rider Daniel Sanders completes opening stage of Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina in 9th position.

And just like that, we’re back to rally action! Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing duo Sam Sunderland and Daniel Sanders came out swinging on stage one of the 2024 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina, securing a pair of top-10 results on a tough opening day. Sunderland brought his RX 450F home in eighth place, just under six minutes adrift of the stage winner with teammate Sanders less than a minute further back in ninth.

Faced with the unenviable task of opening the stage in Cordoba after his 17th place prologue result, Sunderland immediately got to work to deliver a mistake-free ride over the 381-kilometer special and ultimately posted the eighth-fastest time. Heading into stage two’s mammoth day in the saddle with 724 kilometers of liaison and timed special to complete tomorrow, the two-time Dakar champion currently lies in ninth overall.

As the 12th fastest rider in yesterday’s prologue, Sanders took the opening stage in his stride today, skillfully navigating the tricky gravel terrain and lingering dust to bring himself home safely in ninth place. Chucky now sits in eighth overall, but he certainly has his eyes on the prize and will be looking to take advantage of his mid-pack start position tomorrow. Bring on stage two!

Sam Sunderland: “Opening the special is always a challenge but I’m quite happy with my day. I enjoyed the challenge but did lose a couple of minutes as a result. Opening for over 400 kilometers isn’t ideal and I came across plenty of animals too! All in all, though, I had a pretty good day and can hopefully up the pace tomorrow and find those improvements. I’m looking forward to it!”

Daniel Sanders: “Today was alright, unfortunately I got stuck in Sam’s dust all day and I couldn’t pass him, so it wasn’t the most comfortable to say the least. The roads were really slippery too and there were so many turns. I couldn’t even keep count! Today was really hard on the tires, so it got pretty loose by the last few tracks and I had to cruise to the end. Hopefully the terrain tomorrow will be a bit different and we’ll see how it goes!”

Provisional Results: Desafio Ruta 40 2024, stage 1
1. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:59:37
2. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 3:59:38
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 4:00:21
8. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 4:05:30
9. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 4:06:16
Overall Provisional Classification (after stage 1)
1. Tosha Schareina (Honda) 4:16:23
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 4:16:24
3. Adrien Van Beveren (Honda) 4:17:52
8. Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) 4:24:02
9. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 4:24:13