‘This year, Argentina welcomes us either by dust or by rain. Today we had a mix of both, and despite that – I think that this stage was okay. When I saw the roadbook, I knew that it might be perfect, and it was close to that,’ said Rafał Sonik, who arrived as the fourth participant at the finish line and went up in the general classification and is now on number 5.
On Tuesday, the bad weather did not ease up at the Dakar Rally. The organizers were once again forced to shorten the special stage by over one hundred kilometres (from 312 to 190), and for trucks the route was even shorter. Rafał Sonik started the day as the sixth quad rider and managed very well, until the rain thwarted his plans.
‘I like to take turns, so if the route description says that there will be a lot of turns, was great news to me. I was looking forward to this special stage, but I knew that it will be difficult either because of the dust or because of the water. And I got both. Of course, if there is dust, I drive more slowly, but it turned out that if it rains, it gets much, much worse,’ said the winner of the last year’s rally.
The Polish champion made a mistake when choosing the goggles for the special stage, and they steamed up. Even though he left Alejandro Patronelli behind him about 50 km before the finish line, about 30 km later the Argentinian caught up with Rafał, who at this point hardly saw anything. He couldn’t take off the goggles, because he wears contact lenses. And this is how the dead-beat rivals arrived at the finish line together, and the Polish champion, with less than four minutes loss to the leader, arrived just behind the top three riders.
‘Had I driven perfectly, I would’ve saved three or five minutes. On one hand, it’s a pity, I could’ve won this stage, but on the other hand, I arrived at the finish line with a good timing, despite the problems. It was a really good day,’ he added.
This year, the Dakar Rally is nothing like the rally that we got used to. It is more of a crossing rally than a cross-country rally. However, “SuperSonik” has no intention to complain. ‘I’m happy with what is going on. Hołek became my therapist, we talk almost every day after a special stage,’ said Rafał.
On Wednesday, the participants will face the last special stage in Argentina, before they leave for Bolivia. More importantly, it will be the marathon stage, where the participants are not allowed to make even tiniest repairs to their rides… Straight from the closed-off bivouac the convoy will leave for Bolivia.
PKN ORLEN supports Rafał Sonik’s participation in the rally.
Results of the third stage:
1. Brian Baragwanath (ZAF) 2:42.35
2. Ignacio Casale (CHL) + 0.04
3. Marcelo Medeiros (BRA) + 2.39
4. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 3.39
1. Ignacio Casale (CHL) 07:00.40
2. Brian Baragwanath (ZAF) + 3.56
3. Marcelo Medeiros (BRA) + 6.58
5. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 11.33