Dakar Rally – Stage 2: Sunderland Takes First Stage Win

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After Joan Barreda’s Stage One win, Honda is continuing to make its presence felt in the 2014 Dakar Rally. This time Britain’s Sam Sunderland took the stage win honors (his first stage win in his career), though the HRC rider was followed closely in time by KTM’s Chaleco Lopez of Chile, who was just 39 seconds back.

Two minutes back from his teammate, Barreda continued his pace (despite hitting a cow), and was third fastest for the day.

Noticeably absent from the front of the pack were Dakar favorites Marc Coma (9th) and Cyril Despres (10th), as they battled the 359 km from San Luis to San Rafael. Coma attributed his result to a stone that got wedged between the gearbox and the shift — as a result he is now seven minutes back overall.

Meanwhile Despres’ difficulties stemmed from the Frenchman taking a crash in what was likely the fastest stage of the rally. Unhurt from his tumble, Despres will have to overcome a six minute eighteen second deficit overall.

“I’m really happy. The bike was fantastic, it’s been a great day with a mixture of different terrains, speed and technical zones,” said Sunderland. “We got to the dunes which I get on really well with. It wasn’t a really long stretch, but it went well. I crossed the river which was deeper than I had expected, which got a few laughs out of the folk. But I’m really pleased for my first Dakar victory and to continue Honda’s winning streak.”

Stage Two Video Summary:

Top 10 Riders from Stage 2: San Luis to San Rafael:
1) Sam Sunderland – GBR – Honda – 3:42:10
2) Chaleco Lopez – CHL – KTM – +00:00:39
3) Joan Barreda – ESP – Honda – +00:02:00
4) Ruben Faria – PRT – KTM – +00:04:07
5) Alain Duclos – FRA – Sherco – +00:05:51
6) Ben Grabham – AUS – KTM – +00:07:15
7) David Casteu – FRA – KTM – +:00:07:27
8) Paulo Goncalves – PRT – Honda – +00:07:45
9) Marc Coma – ESP – KTM – +00:08:23
10) Cyril Despres FRA – Yamaha – +00:08:53

2014 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after Stage 2
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 6:09:41
2. Chaleco Lopez, CHL (KTM) 6:11:44
3. Sam Sunderland, GBR (Honda) 6:12:14
4. Alain Duclos, FRA (Sherco) 6:15:28
5. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 6:16:41
6. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 6:16:59
7. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (Honda) 6:17:51
8. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 6:18:04
9. Ben Grabham, AUS (KTM) 6:19:46
10. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 6:20:40

Source: Dakar; Photo: HRC