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Sanders Claims Three Stage Wins as Walkner Takes Overall 2021 Silk Way Rally Win

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Fourth overall has seen Daniel Sanders move into the top three in the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Photo: RallyZone

Australian Daniel Sanders has claimed his third stage win at the Silk Way Rally, topping the timesheets on the fifth and final day of the event to finish fourth overall.

Matthias Walkner was the Rally winner and now leads the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Skyler Howes finished second with Franco Caimi third.

The 2021 Silk Way Rally was unfortunately cut short midway through the event due to the pandemic situation in Mongolia. Reduced to five stages, with riders repeating previously contested specials on the final two days, the race still delivered a sizeable challenge due to the mixed terrain encountered.

Daniel Sanders claimed three impressive stage wins from five starts. Photo: RallyZone

With three stage victories to his credit, the Sanders enjoyed more stage wins than any other competitor and ends the rally in a strong fourth overall, just 53 seconds from a spot on the podium.

Enjoying racing in Russia, Sanders got more race miles under his belt as he continues to develop as a top-flight rally racer.

“I pushed really hard today to try and get onto the overall podium, but it wasn’t quite enough,” Sanders lamented. “I left everything out there and did everything I could to make time up on the riders ahead, but it was a short stage and there wasn’t much to separate us all today. I learned a lot this week, I felt great on the bike, and I know I have the speed so it’s all positive. When we get home from here my main focus will be on improving my navigation as this is where I feel I’m lacking a little bit. But overall, a pretty decent week for me and the team,” Sanders concluded.

Matthias Walkner increased his lead in the final event standings to six minutes and 20 seconds for the overall win. Photo: RallyZone

Overall winner Matthias Walkner tucked away one stage win on the way to the top of the overall podium.

“The final stage here was really nice to ride. It was the same as day two, but instead of making it rougher, it seems the cars and trucks prepared it quite well for us today,” Walkner explained. “I really tried to push at the beginning, because I know the first part of the stage is good for me over the fast pistes. In the forest I thought I might have to ease off a little, but it rode better today, and I was able to push for the whole stage. It’s a shame the rally had to be shortened, but the organizers did a great job of giving us a full event to race. To win the famous tiger trophy here at the Silk Way feels amazing, and with my win here I’m now also leading the championship. I couldn’t have asked for a better result really.”

Second overall moves American Skyler Howes up to second in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship standings. Photo: RallyZone

Skyler Howes claimed second overall at the 2021 Silk Way Rally, thanks in part to a strong performance on the fifth and final stage

“To get second place and my first podium at a world championship round is amazing. I was hoping for a slightly longer race, and maybe another step higher on the podium, but I can’t tell you how stoked I am to finish as runner-up. Things went well over the whole race and in the end, it came down to just seconds on the final stage,” Howes said.

Franco Caimi was also elated to be on the podium.

“I don’t have the words to describe how happy I am feeling right now, not just for myself, but also for the team. They have done a fantastic job, and we were able to finish on the podium. We pushed hard during the entire race and in the end, missed the second position by just six seconds. I am really happy with the result, and looking forward to growing with the team. I am sure we can accomplish great things together. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Hero family and the fans for their support and good wishes.”

The next round of the 2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship is the Rally dos Sertões from the 13th to the 22nd of August.

2021 Silk Way Rally – Provisional Results, Stage Five
1 Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 1:04:05
2 Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 1:05:21 +1:16
3 Franco Caimi (ARG), Hero, 1:06:11 +2:06
4 Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 1:06:54 +2:49
5 Sebastian Buhler (GER), Hero, 1:06:54 +2:49

2021 Silk Way Rally – Provisional Rally Standings (after stage five)
1 Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 6:19:18
2 Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 6:25:38 +6:20
3 Franco Caimi (ARG), Hero, 6:25:44 +6:26
4 Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 6:26:37 +7:19
5 Sebastian Buhler (GER), Hero, 6:29:36 +10:18
6 Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 6:36:57 + 0:17:39
7 Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 6:38:08
9 Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, +1hr 20m 52s

2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship – Provisional Rankings (after round two)
1 Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 57.5 points
2 Skyler Howes (USA), Husqvarna, 36 pts
3 Daniel Sanders (AUS), GASGAS, 32.5 pts
4 Franco Caimi (ARG), Hero, 32 pts
5 Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 31 pts
6 Luciano Benavides (Husqvarna) 23.5 pts

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