Daniel Sanders To Race 2021 Dakar
Another mulleted Aussie Dakar Rally racer? You betcha! KTM Factory Racing has announced the signing of Victoria’s Daniel Sanders, who joins the KTM rally team, alongside the two-time Dakar champ, Toby Price.
Here’s the official news from KTM…
The 26-year-old Australian will make his first competitive outing aboard a KTM 450 Rally machine at the upcoming Andalucia Rally in Spain.
A former KTM Factory Racing rider in EnduroGP, Daniel Sanders has shown impressive speed in enduro both in the world championship and at home in Australia. Outright ISDE winner in 2019, Sanders also claimed the AORC (Australian Off-Road Championship) E3 title in the same year. No stranger to high-speed sand racing, Daniel took the win at the demanding Hattah Desert Race in 2018 – an event previously won by compatriot and fellow KTM rally racer, Toby Price.
Currently in Europe, Sanders is spending time under the watchful eye of KTM Rally Team Manager, Jordi Viladoms. Familiarizing himself with the KTM 450 Rally bike, as well as developing his road book and navigational skills, Daniel is also getting to know the tight-knit rally team as he learns from Dakar winners, Price, Matthias Walkner and Sam Sunderland.
Sanders will make his first competitive appearance for KTM Factory Racing at the Andalucia Rally, which runs from October 6 to 10, with the goal of qualifying for the 2021 Dakar Rally to be held in Saudi Arabia next January.
Daniel Sanders: “I’m really excited to join the KTM Factory Racing team and start my rally career. I have to admit it’s something I have always wanted to do but was perhaps planning to get into it a little later. As it stands, with the current worldwide pandemic, there’s not that much racing going on, so when this opportunity came up to join the rally team, I grabbed it with both hands! I’ve had a few days on the bike so far and some time getting to grips with the roadbook and I think it’s gone pretty well. The bike is great and handles so well, it’s really stable at speed. I know I have a lot of knowledge to gain but Jordi and the rest of the team have been great. I feel like I’ve fitted in really easily and it’s obvious that everyone works really hard for a common goal. I’m looking forward to getting some more time on the bike and then my first race here in Spain next month.”
Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Team Manager: “It’s great to have a rider of Daniel’s skill join the team. Already he has shown he’s got really good pace on the bike but is also a very fast learner in terms of the road book and navigation. It’s been invaluable to have him here in Spain to get him up to speed with everything and meet the whole KTM rally family. The plan is to take Daniel through the same teaching procedure we have been through with all of the riders that have previously come into the team from another discipline. He will ride for the KTM Factory Racing team in a junior capacity to minimize the pressure on him and allow him to develop his skills on the bike. Hopefully, he will contest the Dakar next January and then follow our full FIM Cross-Country Rallies program for the rest of the year. We’re really pleased to have Daniel with us and can’t wait to see what he can achieve with the team.”
Robert Jonas – Vice President Motorsports Offroad: “We’re really happy that Daniel is joining our rally program. I am confident that with the team’s experience in developing riders that are new to the sport we will enjoy a highly successful relationship in the next chapter of Daniel’s career. Daniel has raced within our family for many years now and we know that he will be a positive asset to our rally team with his attitude and talent. Our main priority for him, like previously with Toby and Matthias, is to take it step by step whilst learning from all of the knowledgeable people around him. He is already testing with the team and we’re looking forward to supporting him on his journey to racing at events such as the Dakar Rally.”