January 9, 2020 / 11:03 AM / 12 days ago

Former champion Sunderland crashes out of Dakar Rally

Rallying - Dakar Rally - Stage 5 - Al-'Ula to Ha'il Neom - Al-'Ula, Saudi Arabia - January 9, 2020 Red Bull KTM Factory Team's Sam Sunderland during stage 5 REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

(Reuters) - Britain’s 2017 Dakar Rally motorcycle winner Sam Sunderland crashed out of the event in Saudi Arabia on Thursday in a fifth stage won by Australia’s defending champion and KTM team mate Toby Price.

The Dubai-based 30-year-old injured his back and left shoulder in the fall after 187km of the 564km stage from Al Ula to Ha’il, organisers said.

“Winner of the 2017 Dakar Sam Sunderland has had to quit the race on day 5 of #Dakar2020 after a crash. He didn’t lose consciousness and was quickly attended to by the medical staff of the race,” they posted on social media.

Sunderland had led the rally, being held in the Middle East for the first time after a decade in South America, after the second stage and was fastest on Wednesday before incurring a five minute penalty for speeding in a neutralised section.

Price became this year’s first double stage winner but American Ricky Brabec, on a Honda, extended his overall lead to nine minutes over the Australian.

“It’s been a good day. We pushed hard at the start, made some good ways and then I caught up with the Honda boys. Ricky and them were in front, but it’s been a good stage,” said Price.

“It’s actually the first time I’ve ridden with a whole big group, so it was quite enjoyable but at the end of the day they are competitive so we need to stay in front of them. We’re happy with the day and we’ll see how day six goes now.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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