Stage three of the 2018 Rally du Maroc marked the first half of the event’s marathon stage. A short five-kilometre liaison led riders into a 275-kilometre timed special.
Comprising a mixture of fast tracks, sand dunes and dry salt lakes, the stage challenged competitors’ navigation skills and stamina to the maximum. Riders will camp out overnight in a temporary bivouac and receive no outside assistance from their teams, only their teammates can help should any maintenance be needed to their machines.
Following his tough Stage Two, Sam Sunderland was the 21st rider into Sunday’s stage. Using his skill and experience to successfully navigate the route, the 2017 Dakar champion was able to push hard on the mixed terrain and gain valuable time on the riders ahead.
Crossing the line over one and a half minutes ahead of the second placed rider to take the stage win, Sunderland now moves up to 12th in the provisional overall standings.
Winner of the previous stage, Matthias Walkner led the riders away from the bivouac this morning with the aim of staying in front of the chasing pack.
Navigating well throughout the 275 kilometres, the Austrian rider was first to make the finish but would ultimately lose out on the stage win to the chasing Sunderland. Nevertheless, his runner-up position was enough for Walkner to take the lead in the standings, over five minutes ahead of Toby Price.
Although riding well on Stage Three, a number of small navigation errors cost Price valuable minutes on the challenging stage. The Australian rider ultimately reached the finish in sixth place, seven minutes and 44 seconds down on Sunderland.