Adrien Van Beveren led the 2022 Dakar for two days, but topping the standings after stage 10 proved to be his undoing. He finished fourth overall, 18′41″ down on Sunderland. One of his Yamaha teammates, Andrew Short, came in eighth, while the other, Ross Branch, crashed out of the race. There were no mechanical problems to report —kudos to John Maillon, Peterhansel's former mechanic, now working for Yamaha as technical manager.
He did it. At 32 years old, Sam Sunderland claimed his second Dakar title five years after his first triumph in 2017. It is a first for GasGas, which recruited him at the eleventh hour last December. It comes as a relief for the Austrians, the constructor behind the red brand, who wrested the crown back from Honda after two years. Pablo Quintanilla took second place for HRC and Matthias Walkner will represent KTM on the bottom step of the podium. Fourth in the virtual classification at the last time check, Adrien Van Beveren looks set to finish just outside the top 3.
Sunderland has crossed the finish line after 164 km. The GasGas rider was still in command of the overall at the previous time check (km 120), 4'32' ahead of Quintanilla, who was gaining 5', and Walkner, who still had a 7'14' deficit despite clawing back 45'. Sunderland is looking good for the top step of the podium in Jeddah!
The fifteenth rider out of the starting blocks, Adrien van Beveren, was tenth at km 81, 4'24' down on Quintanilla. Halfway through the special, he remains fourth overall, 17'38' behind the leader, Sunderland. Further ahead, Benavides has entered the final 10 km, while the Englishman, poised to take his second title, has reached km 120. The Frenchman's already long odds seem to be getting even longer.