Sunderland forced out of Dakar Rally while leading


Credit: Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool

KTM Factory Team rider Sam Sunderland has retired from the 2018 Dakar Rally after being forced to retire in tough conditions on day four of the event.

The hardest day for physical (and dusty) conditions forced a number of competitors to retire today, including rally leader Sunderland.

The Brit was on his way towards the end of the stage when he jumped into a big hole and suffered a large compression. While the incident didn’t take him out  straight away, he had to retire later after complaining of back pain and losing feeling in his legs.

Medics called in a helicopter to evacuate him from the route, taking him straight to hospital.

Following the incident the KTM Factory team confirmed on Twitter that Sunderland was heading to hospital for checks.

Later in the day team manager Alex Doringer explained, “I’ve spoken with Sam and it seems that when he was searching for one of the waypoint control points he jumped into a big hole and suffered a big compression.

”He felt a sharp pain in his back immediately, but carried on for another 5km before stopping again due to the pain and a lack of feeling in his legs. He said that the feeling in his legs has returned, but he will now be transferred to Lima for more tests.”