The Australian won the Al Ula to Ha'il special, with his margin on the day initially showing as 5:23s over Kevin Benavides (Red Bull KTM) on official timing, and was announced as the new overall leader by Dakar's own media unit.
However, when a provisional results sheet was issued at 21:40 local time/05:40 AEDT, several hours after Sanders had finished the stage, his margin of victory had dropped to 1:07s, with Mason Klein (BAS World KTM) classified second on the stage.
On that basis, Klein was the overall leader, by a 1:48s margin over Sanders, who dropped to second.
Now, results marked ‘AMENDED' have been issued, as at 23:59 local time/07:59 AEDT, which list the stage top four as Sanders, Skyler Howes (+6:19s), Klein (+6:59s), and Benavides (+7:23s).
Overall, Sanders leads Klein by 4:04s, from Benavides (+6:53s) and Howes (+8:35s).
The figures point to the likelihood of confusion about the application of the new-for-2023 opener bonus.
Riders who are top three in the road order for the first 240km of the special stage are issued time compensation for the burden of blazing the trail for others, at the following rates: 1.5s/km for the road leader, 1s/km for second, and 0.5s/km for third.
Klein attracted bonuses totalling 5:52s given he was first in the road order for most of that opening 240km, and it is 5:52s which is the difference between the 1:07s and 6:59s gaps to Sanders.
Similarly, Howes (Husqvarna Factory) earnt 3:14s of bonuses, which matches the gap between his initial deficit to Sanders of 8:35s and the 5:21s figure on the 21:40 version of the classification.
Sanders' stage time never changed throughout, while Benavides' time change can be explained by the addition of two minutes' worth of penalties.
The start list for Stage 4 was also ‘AMENDED' at 23:59 local time, with Klein third onto the road for the next special rather than second, given the Stage 3 results have changed again.
CLICK HERE for extended highlights of Stage 3
See below for updated overall classification