There has been another dramatic development at this year’s Dakar, after the withdrawals of Adrien van Beveren and Xavier de Soultrait, it is now Sam Sunderland’s turn to drop out of the rally following a severe fall after 187km of the special on Stage five.
2017 Dakar winner Sunderland, who was docked five minutes on stage four for speeding was sixth overall and was catching up with the leaders before his crash.
News coming out from Saudi Arabia says Sunderland injured his back and left shoulder and was forced to retire.
Reports say he was attended to quickly, has since been taken to hospital for X-Rays but was conscious.
It’s not the first time Sam has crashed out of Dakar as in 2018, as defending champion, he was forced to retire with a back injury while leading the race.
It now leaves the Factory KTM team with Toby Price, Luciano Benavides and Matthias Walkner to keep their Dakar winning streak on track.
Update January 9, 13.00 GMT:
Latest from Sam Sunderland on social media…
“The pain of a crash is nothing compared to the pain of disappointment, unfortunately, my race is over after a crash today at kilometre 180, While fighting for the stage win and feeling like everything was under control, I caught a camel grass mound awkwardly putting the bike sideways into the next one and a few cartwheels later I have 5 broken vertebrae and a shoulder blade but luckily no surgery is required and should be right again soon!
“I want to thank my team for building me the best bike I could ever wish for and for everyone around who help out during the good and the bad moments. Good luck to my teammates for the rest of the race, put an orange one on the top step! Thank you all for your words of support during the race they help a lot!
“Also I want to thank @johnnyaubertofficial for stopping to help me when I was crashed”