Matthias Walkner is two and a half minutes behind Britain’s Sam Sunderland. The sixth stage has been cancelled.
Austrian motorcycle champion Matthias Walkner finished second after six of twelve stages halfway through the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. The 35-year-old world champion and 2018 Dakar winner is 2:39 behind Britain’s Sam Sunderland who is still ahead and just under three minutes behind third-placed Australian Daniel Sanders (both are gas). The sixth stage has been canceled at kilometer 160, the reason is a severely damaged road with many serious falls.
In his daily analysis before the rest day, Walkner said: “From the beginning we saw that the runway was very broken and very dangerous. And experience has shown that when about 150-200 cars and trucks pass on a track, that runway is used accordingly.” .
The rain made the sand deeper and wetter. Walkner: “Such a broken track is so amazing for a motorcycle. We already knew at the start that Ross Branch had a serious fall at 2.9km. Petrucci also had a really hard way out at this point.” Then the KTM driver from Salzburg saw the rim himself. “I feel uncomfortable when I think about the fact that the first or second driver is not careful.
Therefore, the entire field of drivers complained about the dangerousness of the track at the first refueling station. “Of course it is incomprehensible to all of us that the race management is sending motorbikes on such a broken track where the trucks and cars were going the day before.”
So Walkner was especially happy that he survived the day well and without injuries. “The motivation in the second half is so high and I still feel so fit that I actually don’t need that day off.”
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