Sam Sunderland became the first Briton to win any category of the Dakar Rally as he maintained his concentration to clinch the victory in the bike category on Saturday.
The KTM rider admitted that he was under pressure to take the victory once lead driver and defending winner Toby Price was eliminated in a crash and break his femur, but the strong bonds within the team saw him come through.
Sunderland knew there were plenty of riders who had the potential to take the victory, including final stage winner Joan Barreda, but making the fewest mistakes was key to being able to lead a KTM 1-2-3 ahead of Matthias Walkner and Gerard Farres.
“When I crossed the line my emotions really took over,” admitted Sunderland. “I’ve had a lot of weight on my shoulders for the last six days. Now it feels incredible.
“I have to say thanks to my team, the bike has been great from start to finish. When Toby (Price) went out of the race it was a blow to the team as he’s a good friend. Because of the strong bonds we have in our team it helped us to pull together and strive to do something special.
“There’s a lot of fast guys that have the potential to win this race, I think cutting out the mistakes was the key to this win.”