What better time to attack than the last days of the rally? Rafał Sonik did very well during the Thursday’s stage, and he did even better on Friday. He had the second time at the route from San Juan to Rio Cuarto, and one day before the end of the rally he went up to the 4th place in the general classification. Kamil Wiśniewski retained his tenth place and continues to be the best rider among 4×4 quads.
‘I’m a sportsman, and while this progress in the general classification is pleasant, it is far from satisfying. I’ve finally caught my rhythm on the sands and in the heat of Argentina, and the last two days were a true rivalry of hard guys. This is what I like best. I know that if I had a few more days ahead of me, it could be even better,’ commented Rafał Sonik at the finish line of the eleventh stage.
Friday’s special stage once again posed a great navigation challenge, in particular during its first 50 km, filled with uneven and overgrown waves of sand. The prize for completing that demanding stage took the form of a very quick section, WRC-style. This is where Sonik drove ahead of most of the rivals, giving way only to the rally’s leader, Sergey Karyakin. Initially, Daniel Domaszewski, an Argentinian rider of Polish origin, but he got a penalty of 22 minutes and went down from the second to the fourth place.
Kamil Wiśniewski recorded 7th time and remained the leader of the 4×4 group. ‘It wasn’t easy, because my quad is heavier by 150 kg than the standard quads. In this sandy terrain, I had to stop to regulate the suspension several times. To make it harder, so that I could jump from wave to wave. Then, when the terrain got flat, it was much better,’ said our first-timer.
‘Two weeks ago, when we set out of Paraguay, our objective was to enter the ramp in Buenos Aires together. And we are very close to meeting our goal. Kamil has been absolutely fantastic throughout the entire race, and he had a quad that was much harder to drive than all Yamahas. Now, we must stay focused, because the experience shows that the Dakar Rally ends only after the vehicles are parked at the closed parking lot at the finish line,’ emphasized Rafał, who almost lost his second place in 2014, when he lost his wheel during the access road to the ramp.
Saturday will see the last stage of the Dakar Rally. The special stage will begin and end at the very heart of the bivouac at Rio Cuarto. After 64 km of the route, the riders will celebrate reaching the finish line. Then, all they will have left will be 700 km of an access road to Buenos Aires. At 9.00 p.m. Polish time, the presentation of all riders who managed to complete the 39th edition of the super marathon will begin. Polish quad riders will enter the podium at about 9.50 p.m.
Results of the eleventh stage
1. Sergey Karyakin (RUS) 03:58:22
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) +23.49
3. Nelson Sanabria (PAR) +36.08
7. Kamil Wiśniewski (POL) +52.36
1. Sergey Karyakin (RUS) 38:36.55
2. Ignacio Casale (CHL) +1:16.24
3. Pablo Copetti (ARG) +4:21.06
4. Rafał Sonik (POL) +5:33.01
10. Kamil Wiśniewski (POL) +8:05.02