Sam Sunderland returns to the forefront on Kevin Benavides' glory day

The top three places are locked in just over seven minutes. The British lead escorted by Pablo Quintanilla and Matthias Walkner.

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In a stage in which the classification was changing kilometer by kilometer, Sam sunderland (Gas Gas) was able to come back from the bottom and was once again the leader in the general standings, with an advantage of almost seven minutes over Paul Quintanilla (Honda) and Matthias walkner (KTM). The winner of the day was Kevin Benavidez (KTM), re-engaged after yesterday's retirement.

Kevin Benavides (KTM) was the day's winner after rejoining to complete the 2022 Dakar Rally. Photo: Red Bull

If there is one thing that is clear, it is that this Rally Dakar It will remain in the memory for how changeable it was in the Motorcycle category, which in the last six stages saw the general leader change every day. What is not yet clear is who will be able to keep the precious Touareg, when there are only 164 kilometers of speed remaining and a single day ahead.

Of course, Sam sunderland He gave an important blow this Thursday and what he hopes will be the definitive one. The Briton took advantage of his late starting position in the 346 kilometer loop that started and finished in Bisha; he ended up as escort of the re-enlisted Kevin Benavidez -barely four seconds behind the man from Salta- and returned to the top of the general classification.

Meanwhile Paul Quintanilla y Matthias walkner were able to do their business, finishing second and third respectively in the aggregate, at a distance of nearly seven minutes from the leader, and that still leaves them a chance to fight hand in hand for each podium position, in a last stage that will surely be catchy.

Several riders had commented yesterday that they saw how some bikes picked up their pace at the end of the stage in order to have a better starting position this Thursday. And the strategy worked, as the front of the race lost more than 20 minutes on this day. Among them, Adrien van beveren (Yamaha) who today started as the leader of the accumulated, but after finishing 15th in the partial, now he was fourth, 15 minutes behind the lead.

Normally the last stage of each Dakar Rally seems to be a kind of coronation parade for the leaders of each category; none of that will happen tomorrow on the road between Bisha and Jeddah as the stakes are still high. There are only 164 kilometers left in the race and the toughest competition on the planet has already shown that anything can happen.

Dakar 2022 - Motorcycle Stage 11 (346km):

1) K. Benavides (KTM) 3:50.56
2) S. Sunderland (Gas Gas) +0.04
3) J Rodrigues (Hero) +2.26
4) M.Walkner (KTM) +4.54
5) R.Bravec (Honda) +5.22

Dakar 2022 Motorcycles - General after Stage 11:

1) S. Sunderland (Gas Gas) 37: 04.05
2) P. Quintanilla (Honda) +6.52
3) M.Walkner (KTM) +7.15
4) A. Van Beveren (Yamaha) +15.30
5) J. Barreda Bort (Honda) +27.54

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