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SAM SUNDERLAND RULED OUT OF ABU DHABI DESERT CHALLENGE
REIGNING WORLD CHAMPION BREAKS ANKLE IN PRE-RACE TEST
Sam’s out! Not the news anyone wanted to hear just two days before the opening prologue of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge! The Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing rider was taking part in the team’s final training ride before the second round of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship when he came over a dune to find a soft pocket of sand. The impact resulted in the British rider breaking the lower tibia on his right leg, and in turn ruled him out of next week’s race.
Although Sam did initially consider taking part in the five-stage event next week, in his own words, he wouldn’t be able to push anywhere near his maximum and could risk further damage to his ankle. As such, the two-time Dakar Champion has taken the difficult decision to not race the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – an event the former Dubai resident has won three times.
Sunderland hopes to be fully healed and back racing his GASGAS RX 450F by round three of the world championship, where he will join teammate Daniel Sanders in Mexico.
Norbert Stadlbauer – Rally Team Manager: “The news of Sam’s injury has come as a terrible blow to the whole Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing team. He was putting in a final test before the event, came over a dune and landed in a hole which resulted in him breaking his ankle. It’s such a shame for Sam, especially after all the hard work he has put in to be fit for this race after missing out on the Dakar. This unfortunately means GASGAS will not be represented at this second round of the world championship. But we’re already looking ahead to round three and having both our boys back on their bikes. The whole team wishes Sam all the best and a speedy recovery.”