Rafał had to ride with a punctured tire for the entire 270 kilometers and Kamil Wiśniewski ran out of gas in the middle of the desert. The 4th SS was definitely unfavorable for the Polish quad riders but the good news is that they both dropped down only one position in the general standings.
Tuesday challenge started on the ocean beach with a spectacular blast. Rafał Sonik set off for the 330-kilometer 4th SS along with six quad riders and eight motorcyclists.
The bikes quickly left the 4-wheelers behind on a long stretch by the ocean shore. For quite a while, the Polish racer remained among the leading five, however, his attempts to move even faster were hindered by a punctured tire…
“At the very beginning of the stage, I pierced a tire on a sharp rock. Unfortunately, the hole was on the side of the wheel and so there was no way of fixing it en route. At least the mousse, which is a flexible foam that fills my quad tires, made it possible for me to keep going. I had to stay extra careful though because a flat tire is much more likely to get cut by the rim. If I let it flail around the rim, I would be in deep trouble before long,” admits the Cracovian racer.
Fortunately, during the second part of the SS, the tire proved to be in a good enough shape to speed up a notch. “We had some problems finding waypoints during the final section of the stage. They were not accurately marked in the roadbook, and I found some of them as much as 200 or 400 meters off the course. Driving in circles in a difficult terrain in search of the correct waypoint is a big challenge. All the crossing tracks in the sand caused a lot of additional confusion. But sometimes it’s better to lose a few minutes than to get penalized for missing a waypoint, ” emphasized Sonik.
Kamil Wiśniewski also ran out of luck. He kept close to the first ten racers for a long time before his two falls followed by a fuel shortage. The lack of fuel cost him over one and a half hour loss. What’s more, he was out of water since he had used his camelbak and tube for pumping fuel. Despite the situation, the rider was in high spirits.
“Well, I kinda got myself into trouble, but I wasn’t alone because my quad rolled right there with me. We got ourselves up, dust ourselves up, lost some fuel, then added some fuel, and finally, a Bolivian rider, Leonardo Martinez, towed us to the finish line. Now it’s time to eat, to sleep, and tomorrow is a new day of racing, so no need to panic!” asserted Wiśniewski with a wide smile.
On Wednesday, the cavalcade of riders is bound southward, heading to the city of Arequipa. Different routes are planned for different vehicles. The SS for quads and motorcycles will extend for 266 km. Cars and trucks will race for 268 km and their transfer road will be 150 km longer (666 km for cars and trucks and 508 km for quads and motorbikes). Huge sand dunes will provide the main attraction so we are looking at more teams spending night stuck in the open desert, struggling with sand…
Stage 4 results
1. Siergiej Karjakin (RUS) 4:56.34
2. Ignacio Casale (CHL) +0.43
3. Alexis Hernandez (PER) + 5.31
4. Gustavo Gallego (ARG) +8.01
5. Axel Dutrie (FRA) +8.14
6. Simon Vitse (FRA) +11.40
7. Pablo Copetti (ARG) + 14.00
8. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli (ARG) +14.12
9. Givani Enrico (CHL) +20.18
10. Rafał Sonik (POL) +23.32
36. Kamil Wiśniewski (POL) +2:35.47
1. Ignacio Casale (CHL) 13:00.42
2. Siergiej Karjakin (RUS) +25.30
3. Alexis Hernandez (PER) +35.01
4. Pablo Copetti (ARG) +40.00
5. Gustavo Gallego (ARG) +44.16
6. Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli (ARG) +53.53
7. Rafał Sonik (POL) +1:01.09
8. Nicolas Cavigliasso (ARG) +1:10.49
9. Axel Dutrie (FRA) +1:25.53
10. Simon Vitse (FRA) +1:34.22
24. Kamil Wiśniewski (POL) +5:49.10