The Dakar 2022 ends with the victory of Sam Sunderland on GasGas. Excellent performance also by our Italian drivers, beyond the standings.
This tough edition of the Dakar also ends. The most dangerous race ever gave us emotions, fears and always spectacular images from the dunes and rocks of Saudi Arabia.
The last stage was well run and administered by Sam sunderland even if he risked being "papped" by Paul Quintanilla, who recovered several minutes in the last two stages. The Chilean rider, on a Honda, had in fact put the English rider in his sights, but the advantage of the previous stages, the constancy, the navigation allowed Sunderland to get on the first step of the podium without particular hitches.
Sam Sunderland: “When you win the Dakar Rally, it's worth it. I honestly can't be happier. This last stage was so difficult and very stressful… So much navigation, so many complicated notes, confusion and doubts. Honestly, my head was about to explode. In the last ten minutes, I wasn't sure if I had won, now they told me and, wow, the dream comes true! I've had a pretty tough season, but when you win the Dakar it's really worth it. How wonderful!".
Let's open a paragraph especially for ours petrux (93rd in the overall standings) who presented himself to the Dakar with his usual humility and calmness and then opened the gas with great skill, demonstrating to everyone that there is not only asphalt in his veins, indeed a lot of thirst for dunes and deserts.
He proved it to us in the fifth stage, the first won in his new career as a Dakarian, and in the other stages where, despite the technical problems, he has always achieved excellent results. Turning to the motorcycle, did not hide his disappointment and anger towards KTM that was not able to provide him with a reliable vehicle and assistance at the height, forcing the rider from Terni to numerous stops and breakdowns, even in very risky situations.
Tomorrow he returns home for a well-deserved "sofa and a beer" declared Danilo, who brings with him a wonderful experience, many small and medium-sized injuries and whom we thank for bringing the Dakar back to the homes of many Italians who had left it too long in the closet.
We can officially say to all of you, Italian drivers in the Dakar, thank you! For the effort you have made, for the commitment, the sacrifices, the pains, the perseverance, the skill and for having almost all reached the final goal in Jeddah.
First Lorenzo Piolini (99th in the general classification) who raced with a nice set of hardware in the collarbone that he had operated on just before the start, then Paul Lucci, who gave his best with Petrucci among the top thirty strongest drivers and was betrayed by a breakdown. And obviously let's not forget all the other “blue” drivers who finished the Dakar in the following positions: 45th John Gritti, first of the Italians, 67th Cesare Zacchetti, 73 ° Franco Picco simply unstoppable, 75 ° Francis Catanese, 87 ° Dominic Cipollone, 95 ° Andrea Winkler, 104 ° Tiziano Internò, 117 ° Aldo Winkler, 119 ° Leonard Tonelli.
Well not great couples in cars like Sanz and Gerini among which there seems to have been some friction but which ended the Dakar in 23rd position. Also Cerutti, co-driver of the Saudi pilot Alobaidan, suffered a bit from the role.
Sam Sunderland managed the race very well, always remaining in the ambush of the strongest riders, many of whom lost ground in the last few stages such as Barreda, Price and Benavides. Sunderland immediately attacked on the dunes as soon as he could, building an excellent margin of advantage and control over his rivals. Petrucci complained a little about the team, one of the reasons Sunderland switched to GasGas.
In the cars the Toyota of Al-Attiyah was unbeatable, winning ahead of Sebastien Loeb of the Bahrain team. In the Classic category, many Italians took part with beautiful cars that made the history of rallies and the Dakar. We, with the Nissan of the Tecnosport team, finished in 111th position due to two days lost due to technical problems.