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The Dakar Rally

Merzouga Rally

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October 24, 2013

Great Win for Sunderland and the Honda CRF450 RALLY on the Marathon Stage

Stage 4: Erfoud
Total stage: 249 km / Special stage: 249 km

British TEAM HRC rider Sam Sunderland rode to an unchallenged victory in a fantastic stage which helps consolidate his position at the top of the leader-board. Team-mate Hélder Rodrigues finished second in this the fourth special of the Merzouga Rally.

Helder Rodrigueszoom
Sam Sunderland
Helder Rodrigueszoom
Helder Rodrigues

The first leg of the marathon stage produced good results for the riders of TEAM HRC. Sam Sunderland started out in second place with a clear goal: to win the special on the new Honda CRF450 RALLY. He was soon able to overtake yesterday’s stage winner, opening the route for more than two hundred kilometers without any navigational errors, finishing a clear first 249 kilometers later.

Hélder Rodrigues looked to make up time today, starting out in sixth position after a misreading cost him a 30’ penalty. But he was unable to keep the pace of his team-mate. Hélder had to accept the second place some 6’49 behind Sam, although it was undoubtedly a great stage for the two Honda riders. The rest of the pack finished with a deficit of more than ten minutes off the Portuguese rider, who now occupies the second overall position.

Once back at the camp in the Merzouga dunes, the bikes are not allowed to receive any mechanical assistance. The riders will be sleeping in specially-prepared hammocks before the second leg of the marathon stage begins tomorrow.

Sam Sunderlandzoom
Sam Sunderland
Sam Sunderlandzoom
Sam Sunderland

* Report based on preliminary results

#9 Sam Sunderland:
"It’s been an incredible day today. I was on top form and set out to win from the beginning. I pushed as hard as I could at every opportunity, navigating without any mistakes. I know that Hélder wanted to win the stage too, but I still hadn’t won on this fantastic Honda CRF450 RALLY, so I gave it everything. I’m really pleased to have won the stage and to be first in the overall standings."
#7 Helder Rodrigues:
"It wasn’t easy and I really wanted to win the stage.... but Sam did too! Today he was really fast and I’m pleased for him and his first win on the new bike. I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, but after 50 km, my CAP repeater stopped working, and I had to finish the race that way. I’ll have a look and see what happened."
Helder Rodrigueszoom
Helder Rodrigues

Merzouga Rally Special stage 4 results 

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Sam Sunderland (TEAM HRC) 2h 52'33
2 Helder Rodrigues (TEAM HRC) + 06'49
3 Olivier Pain (YAMAHA) + 16'58
4 Gerard Farrés (GAS GAS) + 19'02
5 Jordi Viladoms (GAS GAS) + 21'05

Overall standings after day 4

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Sam Sunderland (TEAM HRC) 9h 53'07
2 Helder Rodrigues (TEAM HRC) + 17'43
3 Olivier Pain (YAMAHA) + 27'35
4 Farres Guell Gerard (GAS GAS) + 41'05
5 Jordi Viladoms (GAS GAS) + 45'28

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