AREQUIPA, Peru, Jan 11 – British motorcyclist Sam Sunderland was Friday promoted to fifth stage winner on the Dakar Rally after sportingly stopping mid-race to help a fellow rider who had fallen and suffered a head injury.
Frenchman Xavier de Soultrait, on a Yamaha, had been the first across the line on the run from Moquegua to Arequipa while Sunderland, on a KTM, finished down in 14th place, 7min 29sec behind.
However, the 29-year-old lost more than 10 minutes when he gallantly stopped racing to come to the aid of Portugal’s Honda rider Paulo Goncalves who was injured in a fall after 155km of the stage.
Goncalves suffered a head injury and a broken right hand, forcing him into the fifth retirement of his Dakar career.
Organisers said stewards decided to hand Sunderland back the 10 minutes he spent at the Portuguese rider’s side, thus making him the stage winner by a margin of 3min 23sec.
In the overall standings, America’s Ricky Brabec, on a Honda, leads Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla, riding a Husqvarna, by 2min 52sec with Australia’s Toby Price, on another KTM, rounding out the top three at 3min 21sec off the lead.
Sunderland is seventh, more than 11 minutes behind as the event heads into a rest day on Saturday.