A tricky stage in terms of navigation, and one that saw many favourites drive in the wrong direction.
Frenchman Michael Metge and Spaniard Joan Barreda took the first two spots, followed by Slovakian Stefan Svitko who collapsed of exhaustion shortly after the finish line. He’s now been taken to San Juan hospital. KTM riders Matthias Walkner and Sam Sunderland finished respectively in 11th and 13th place, 13’48 and 18’01 behind Metge. Despite a result due to a navigation mistake at the 39th km, Sunderland is still leading overall.
“With so many riverbeds at the beginning it was tough to follow the correct one,” explained the British rider. “I made a few mistakes before the refuel and that got me stressed out because I didn’t know where the other bikes were. Then at the refuel there were only three bikes there so I knew my mistakes hadn’t been too costly.”
Pablo Quintanilla, who was second overall at the start of Stage 10, fell off his bike and has been diagnosed with a head trauma. As a result, Walkner climbs to second place in the general rankings, just under 30 minutes behind Sunderland. “I’ve never finished the Dakar so to be here on Day 11 and to be leading is a dream come true,” added Sunderland. “To have my friend Matthias here with me as well is great because we have both worked hard and been through it a bit to get here.”