Sam Sunderland wins 2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

GASGAS Factory Racing star extends World Rally-Raid Championship lead

Sam Sunderland

Sam Sunderland

Sam Sunderland has won the 2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge after putting in an impressive display of riding to top the fifth and final stage of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – winning the Rally event in style!

The awesome result makes it two wins from two races for Sunderland in the 2022 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship, where he sits dominantly at the top of the standings.

Sam Sunderland: “It feels so cool to get the win! Abu Dhabi is always a tough race with the strategy and that was even more a factor this year as everyone was right on the pace. If you started a stage further back you didn’t seem to catch up so much time even though you were pushing like hell, so it was definitely a challenge this year.

“It was a tough race physically as well, partly because of the pace, but because of the heat too, as well as it being so close to Dakar.

“It feels great to get another win and extend my lead in the championship. It also feels good to be able to reward the team like this because they have all worked so hard all week, and it’s results like this that makes it all worth it.

“The plan now is to keep the ball rolling and carry this momentum into the third round.”

Sam Sunderland

Sam Sunderland

  • Sam wins the final ADDC stage to claim overall victory in style
  • GASGAS RC 450F was faultless throughout the five-day event
  • Brit extends lead in World Rally-Raid Championship

It was a close one at the ADDC this year – Sunderland went into the final 371km stage with a narrow 23-second lead over the second-placed rider. Not backing down, the 2022 Dakar winner came out fighting to deliver what is arguably his most impressive stage result of the event. By kilometre 83, Sunderland had moved into the stage lead on time and from there he didn’t look back. Steadily increasing his lead, he went on to secure the overall race win.

Sam Sunderland

Sam Sunderland

Clocking in at the finish of today’s stage 34 seconds faster than anyone else, Sunderland claimed the overall race victory by over three minutes, after close to 17 hours of racing. The result extends his lead at the top of the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship standings to a sizeable 17 points, with three rounds left to race.

On Instagram: “Happy to take the win here in Abu Dhabi after another tough fight with the boys all week,” wrote the Dubai-based British rally-raid star who turns 33 next month. “Thank you all for the messages of support and following along for the adventures!”

In a light-hearted reply, fellow Brit Jonny Walker asked Sam if he was “sick of winning”, while Oakley Motorsports sent their congratulations “Another one! Amazing job”, and Red Bull Motorsports wrote: “Well done champ! On a roll now.”

GASGAS Factory Racing’s next Rally-Raid event will be the Andalucia Rally, starting June 6.

Stage 5 Provisional Classification

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 2:20:57
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 2:21:31
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 2:22:08

Provisional Overall Classification

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 16:54:24
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 16:57:32
3. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 16:58:20

2022 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship Standings

1. Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) 63 points
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Honda) 46 pts
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 35 pts

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