After 81 km, Sanders is holding onto his lead, 1’26 in front of Walkner (KTM), 1’47 ahead of his team-mate Sunderland, 2’08 in front of Brabec (Honda), 2’26 ahead of Quintanilla (Honda) and 2’59 in front of Klein (BAS Dakar KTM). The gaps are fairly small, because the top 15, rounded off by the Shercos of Gonçalves and Santolino, are all within the same 5 minutes.
Arūnas Gelažninkas, who finished in 21st place and won the Original by Motul category last year, is brilliantly defending his title. He was the 33rd rider to start this morning, with a lead of 3’23 in the general rankings of his category over Engel Milan, who set out three places behind. South African Charan Moore is 3rd, ahead of Mario Patro, former category winner Emmanuel Gyenes and Frenchman Benjamin Melot, who received a 6-minute penalty.
Whilst Quintanilla is awaited at the time check point after 80 km for a better idea of the current status of the stage, the riders who opened the special are having serious navigation problems after 100 km. It is very likely that the riders who set off later will come to the forefront and take advantage of the openers’ searches to get through this seemingly difficult zone.
Ross Branch, who was second to start, fell from his Yamaha in the first few kilometres. The “Kalahari Ferrari” suffered bruising and pain on his right-hand side and has been taken by road to the medical services at the bivouac.