The competition between the quad drivers was spiced up on the second day of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The participants set off on the road in three-minute intervals and thus ventured through long desert stretches in absolute solitude. Despite one mishap, Rafał Sonik managed to maintain his runner-up position. The lead was claimed by Aleksander Maksimow, however, the difference between the opponents is still insignificant.
A strong southern wind has been blowing ever since the beginning of the rally in the United Arab Emirates. Churning up sand, it also invites sweltering air masses in. The organizers anticipate that the conditions are likely to change no sooner than in two days. Until then, every participant must navigate very cautiously due to very limited visibility. Plus, the desert itself may change within a few hours. The Monday stage gave Rafał Sonik a first-hand experience of possible consequences of driving in such extreme conditions.
“I was driving through low dunes and a terrain that was dotted with pits and holes while the wind was blasting sand all around me. I couldn’t see a thing, not to mention a wide pothole from which I was not able to find an easy way out. Surrounded by walls, which were a few meters high, I started to feel a slight apprehension. I began to make circles around the bottom of the pit like a corkscrew to get closer to the edge. My back wheels were constantly slipping. Finally, one centimeter at a time, I managed to break out from the trap but not without losing a few precious minutes. At least I didn’t get stuck in the sand because that would keep me there much longer”, reported the quad rider.
Aleksander Maksimow was first to cross the finish line, barely 51 seconds faster than Rafał Sonik. Fahid Al-Mussalam had a loss of two minutes and moved down to the third position. Making his debut appearance in the FIM World Cup, Arkadiusz Lindner was once more fourth to complete the stage. “Our results would place us somewhere between 12th and 15th spot in the motorcycle class, which means we keep a decent, steady pace. I plan to continue driving like this for the following three days without worrying about my rivals too much”, concluded Rafał Sonik.
Stage II results
1. Aleksander Maksimow (RUS) 4:02.55
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) +0.51
3. Fahid Al-Mussalam (KUW) +2.06
4. Arkadiusz Lindner (POL) +13.55
1. Aleksander Maksimow (RUS) 8:49.22
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) +0.50
3. Fahid Al-Mussalam (KUW) +1.51
4. Arkadiusz Lindner (POL) +16.03