Ben Grabham scored his highest finishing position in the Dakar Rally today with a sixth place, putting him in the top 10 outright.
The 359km stage was won by Honda factory rider and relative newcomer Sam Sunderland of England who lives in Dubai and was “at home” in the grey sand dunes.
Meanwhile favourites Marc Coma (KTM) and Cyril Despres (Yamaha) finished down the order in ninth and 10th just 20 seconds apart. Coma got a stone in his gearbox and is outright fifth and Despres had a small crash and broke his camelback and is now eighth.
Outright leader is still Joan Barreda Bort (Honda) who won the first stage. He leads by 2:03 over Francisco Lopez (KTM), with Sunderland third and Alain Duclos (Sherco) fourth.
Grabham is now ninth outright.
Most of the other five Aussies improved on their positions with Shane Niener 54th on a Yamaha (outright 52nd); Allan Roberts, KTM, 58th (61); Troy O’Connor, KTM, 65th (59th); Mark Davidson, KTM 106th (110th); and Clayton Jacobsen, KTM, 131st (130th).
Six-time Dakar bike winner and five-time car winner Stephane Peterhansel won the longer 433km car section in his Mini and also leads outright.
Outright bike rankings after stage 2
1 BARREDA BORT (Spain) Honda
2 LOPEZ CONTARDO (Chile) KTM (2:03)
3 SUNDERLAND (GBritain) Honda (2:33)
4 DUCLOS (France) Sherco (5:47)
5 COMA (Spain) KTM (7:00)
6 FARIA (Portugal) KTM (07:18)
7 GONCALVES (Portugal) Honda (8:10)
8 DESPRES (France) Yamaha (8:23)
9 GRABHAM (Australia) KTM (10:05)
10 CASTEU (France) KTM (10:59)