After all the hard work, testing, training, and preparation that went into his Dakar Rally title defense, Sam Sunderland’s race came to a premature and frustrating end on sunday, the Brit crashing just 52 kilometers into stage one. Leading the special briefly before the incident, the Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing star was airlifted to hospital in Yanbu where he was diagnosed with a broken shoulder blade.

Sam Sunderland: “I am more or less ok, a broken shoulder blade, big hematoma on my back and a concussion, I feel quite embarrassed to be laid here typing this out, being out of dakar on day one is a tough pill to swallow…”

Norbert Stadlbauer – GASGAS Rally Team Manager: “Unfortunately, Sam crashed out of the race today after hitting a rock around 52 kilometers into the opening stage. He’s broken his shoulder blade and has a concussion so his time here at the Dakar is sadly over. It’s such a shame that this has happened as I know he had high hopes of making it back-to-back wins and we are lucky that he was not more seriously injured. It’s disappointing for sure but this is how racing goes sometimes.”

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photos (c) Rally Zone