Need to know: Sam Sunderland

Stage winner at the 2014 Dakar, Sam Sunderland has joined Red Bull KTM. The British rider steps up.

Sam Sunderland signs with Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team
Sam Sunderland signs with Red Bull KTM© Alberto Lessmann/Red Bull Content Pool

Sam Sunderland’s career has just taken off. The Brit made headlines at the Dakar rally after winning one stage for the HRC team. Now he has joined the Red Bull KTM squad.

What’s new?

Southampton’s Sam Sunderland has been making waves in the rally raid world. Having made an impact with Honda’s works team at this year’s Dakar where he won the stage between San Luis and San Rafael. He has now signed for the most successful squad ever – the Red Bull KTM Factory Team – the team that won nine Dakar Rally victories with Cyril Despres and Marc Coma. Sunderland will ride the KTM orange for the next three-and-a-half years.

Sam Sunderland in action before Dakar 2014
Sam Sunderland in action before Dakar 2014© Alberto Lessmann/Red Bull Content Pool

The past

The 24-year-old former motocross rider is one of the very few to win a stage in the Dakar rally. Sam had proved his potential in the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, but success at the world’s toughest endurance race had eluded him. The 2012 edition of the Dakar was a bitter experience after he was forced to abandon the rally on the third day. And he had to sit out the 2013 rally after breaking his wrist just one month before the start of the race.

Sam Sunderland steps up joining Red Bull KTM in 2014.
Sam Sunderland steps up joining Red Bull KTM© Alberto Lessmann/Red Bull Content Pool

The future

The British rider will be a part of the Red Bull KTM squad which has won the past 13 Dakar editions. Sunderland wants to show his mettle and become one of the sport’s greats, together with Marc Coma, his new teammate, with four Dakar victories under his belt. Jordi Viladoms, runner-up in the 2014 Dakar, is his other teammate. His main goal for year one will be to complete the Rally in the top five by scoring consistent results throughout the stages. He will race the new KTM Rally 450 machine that made its debut in 2014. The youngster will also build essential experience by taking part in the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in order to prepare for the 2015 Dakar race.