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SAM SUNDERLAND AND KTM WIN 2019 FIM CROSS - COUNTRY RALLIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sam Sunderland has won the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship by placing as runner-up aboard his KTM 450 RALLY machine at the penultimate round of the series - the Atacama Rally in Chile.
With an unbeaten record in the 2019 championship leading into round three, following wins at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Silk Way Rally, Sam Sunderland arrived in Chile with a healthy points advantage over second-placed rider. Delivering a mature and calculated performance, the 2017 Dakar Rally champion put in a superb ride throughout the challenging five-day event in and around Copiapó to finish second overall, earning himself enough points to claim the title with one round remaining.
Racing with incredible consistency, Sunderland finished inside the top three in all but the fifth stage of the Atacama Rally. On the final day the British-ace did exactly what was needed of him, bringing his KTM 450 RALLY home safely and in turn securing his first ever world championship title.
Sam Sunderland: “I’m so happy to win the world championship - I couldn’t have done it without my KTM team. I have to thank Toby [Price] as well for his help, as I bent my disc on the marathon stage and he was kind enough to swap, so that kept me in the chase. It was always in the back of my mind that I could take the title here in Chile, but I tried not to think about it too much as the race went on - I just tried to focus on getting through each day safely and in a good position. It’s been a really tough event here in Chile, as always, but it feels great to be standing here now as world champion. I have come so close in the past having finished as runner-up twice in 2015 and 2016, but this title makes all the hard work worth it.”
Jordi Viladoms (KTM Factory Racing Rally Team Manager): “We are so proud of Sam for taking the 2019 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. As he said, he has come close to winning the title a number of times, so it’s a fantastic achievement for him to be world champion. Sam has ridden consistently well all season. Rally is a real team sport and I’d like to thank every member of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team for all of their hard work in achieving this result. Whilst it’s not been an easy season for some of our riders, we look forward to concluding the world championship with a strong race in Morocco with all of our KTM Factory Racing line-up, as we continue our preparations for the 2020 Dakar Rally.”
The next event for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team will be the Rallye
Du Maroc, held in Morocco, from October 3 – 9 as the team continues its
preparation for the 2020 Dakar Rally in January.