[GASGAS]

SANDERS & PRICE ON A TEAR IN MEXICO!

10 months ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: KTM and GASGAS

Daniel “Chucky” Sanders’ seventh place finish at the 2023 Dakar Rally back in January was nothing to sneeze at. But when you consider the result came after next to no time on the bike in the lead-up to the event (thanks to an ongoing elbow injury) and how sick he was for several days during the event itself (due to that pesky, festering thorn that planted itself deep in his forearm), the 27-year-old Aussie clearly had the potential to do better. And after choosing to sit out Round 2 of the FIM Rally-Raid World Championship (W2RC) to let his injuries properly heal, Sanders delivered on that potential when the series resumed in Mexico late last week.

Yes, wrapping-up a super impressive week of racing in Mexico, Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Daniel Sanders has clinched his first-ever World Rally-Raid victory at the 2023 Sonora Rally, the third round of the W2RC. After opting to sit out Round 2 of the series in Abu Dhabi back in February, Sanders’ comeback in Mexico was super-impressive. He secured three stage wins from five days’ racing and finished the event with a commanding margin of seven minutes over second place.

“It’s great to get my first rally win,” an elated Sanders explained after the five-day Mexican race. “It feels like it’s been a long time coming – obviously after a year off, it’s great to be back where I want to be. Dakar’s the big one, but getting wins in the world championship is also super important. I’ve had some bad luck with speed penalties and things like that in some events, so to finally get a world championship win means a lot to me. Also, I feel like I’ve ridden well this event, leading out on several days, and generally having a good run through the event. Yeah, after a year out and then getting sick at Dakar, it’s all heading in the right direction. I’m improving still, and thanks to the team who always give me a great bike, I feel like things are really coming together now,” Sanders went on to say.

Rally Team Manager, Norbert Stadlbauer, praised Sanders for his impressive performance, noting that the Aussie’s confidence grew throughout the event: “New race, new terrain, and a first world championship win for Daniel, which is a well-deserved result. Of course, it was hugely disappointing that Sam [Sunderland] was unable to finish the event, but we know he’ll be back strong. This really hasn’t been an easy rally as the desert style terrain and the cactuses have been something new and different for more or less everyone. But Daniel has been really impressive. Coming back to racing and winning … it’s amazing how he’s improved. Winning multiple stages, and winning when opening stages, was really impressive, and he became more and more confident during the event.”

Despite missing the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Sanders’ win at Sonora Rally has boosted him to fifth in the 2023 W2RC’s standings. His GASGAS teammate, Sam Sunderland, unfortunately crashed out of the event on day two, but is expected to return to training after undergoing check-ups in the UK.

Meanwhile, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price has extended his points lead in the prestigious FIM World Rally-Raid Championship’s standings after clawing back much of the eight minutes his lost on day one from a navigational error while leading. Price finished a strong fourth place in Mexico, just two minutes off the podium. Nevertheless, his strong performance over the five-day event earned him enough points to increase his lead in the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship standings, with two events left to race.

“I’m obviously really disappointed,” conceded Price after the Sonora Rally. “I made a stupid little mistake right at the end there. I didn’t quite get the right road, so I had to cut across and then come back, and then when I was back on the road I turned left instead of right. A silly mistake, but it ended up costing me the podium. That’s racing unfortunately. The championship still looks good, but I’m gutted to have missed out here in Mexico, right at the very last stage.”

RESULTS – 2023 SONORA RALLY

1. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 11:01:09

2. Tosha Schareina (ESP), Honda, 11:09:32 +8:23

3. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 11:18:25 +17:16

4. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 11:20:52 +19:43

5. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 11:24:09 +23:00

STANDINGS – 2023 FIM W2RC (AFTER ROUND 3)

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 62 pts

2. Luciano Benavides (ARG), Husqvarna, 55 pts

3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Honda, 53 pts

4. Kevin Benavides (ARG), KTM, 43 pts

5. Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 39 pts

The next event (Round 4) on the 2023 W2RC calendar is the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina on August 26.

Be the first to comment...

You might also like...

GASGAS

6 days ago

Tested: 2024 GASGAS Models

We attack Daniel Sanders’ property on the 2024 GASGAS range.

GASGAS

1 month ago

PRADO’S SUPERCROSS DEBUT

Jorge Prado is taking to Supercross, like a duck to water…

GASGAS

2 months ago

VIDEO: 2024 GASGAS OFF-ROAD LAUNCH

Nothing beats the awesome combo of good times and dirt bikes. Check out the 2024 GASGAS off-road launch at the ‘Spice It Up’ festival!

GASGAS

2 months ago

SANDERS & SUNDERLAND READY FOR DAKAR

Can Australia’s Daniel Sanders fulfill his potential and top Dakar in 2024?

GASGAS

2 months ago

VIDEO: WIBMER JOHANNES SHREDDING!

Freerider Wibmer Johannes rips around his local town.

GASGAS

3 months ago

JORGE PRADO TO RACE AMA SUPERCROSS

Jorge Prado will have a crack at three rounds of the AMA Supercross Championship!

Bike Reviews

4 months ago

2024 GASGAS Enduro Range: 5 Standouts

How does the overhauled 2024 GASGAS six-bike enduro range stack up? Here’s what we thought after two days of testing.

GASGAS

4 months ago

SURF’S UP WITH POL ESPARGARO  

Pol Espargaro rips on a custom GASGAS SM700, fitted with a surfboard rack!