The third stage of the deciding round of the World Cup was cut short. The organizer cancelled the entire first part of the longest special stage, which meant that the participants had only 147km to cover. Rafał Sonik had the sixth time at the finish line.
Cancelling a large part of the second stage affected the results, but the lack of proper reconnaissance had much worse consequences. The winner of the Dakar Rally, Sam Sunderland, lost any chance of winning the World Cup title after he flooded his bike. Pablo Quintanilla, his colleague with the sister team riding for KTM Husqvarna, was barely able to complete the stage.
Rafał Sonik managed to avoid problems during the second stage, but he fell into a navigation trap during the third one. ‘The roadbook showed the driving direction, the so-called “cap”, and I had many parallel traces in front of me. There was no information as to which road to take, so I followed the coordinates given by the organizer. Unfortunately, I missed a waypoint and I had to go back in a very difficult terrain, through small dunes overgrown with bushes,’ he said.
All indicates that it was the organizer’s mistake and the rider is entitled to a complaint in such situations. ‘Koolen run away a little, but Alexis Hernandez is still behind my back. No matter how this situation is resolved, my main goal is to keep the second position in the World Cup classification. In order to do that, I must be faster than the Peruvian rider. Due to the navigation mistake I couldn’t get the rhythm today, but the quad is in a good condition, so I’m in good spirits before tomorrow’s stage,’ added Sonik, who defends the trophy this year.
The winner of the Sunday’s stage found himself in serious problems. Alexandr Maksimov damaged his engine and the entire oil leaked out. ‘He’s got a hole in his bike, he tried to fix it at the bivouac. I don’t think he will repeat his result tomorrow,’ noted Sonik.
On Monday, the rally’s column will cover the first 170 km of the special stage for sure. After that, there should be neutralisation (20 km) and another 264 km of rivalry. However, this part of the stage is now in question.
Results of the third stage:
1. Aleksandr Maksimov (RUS) 01:51.57
2. Koolen (NLD) +0.19
3. Hernandez (PER) +1.13
4. Sebastien Souday (FRA) +1.57
5. Bruno da Costa (FRA) +7.57
6. Rafał Sonik (POL) +12.34
1. Sebastien Souday (FRA) 07:35.27
2. Koolen (NLD) +2.47
3. Bruno da Costa (FRA) +3.40
4. Aleksandr Maksimov (RUS) +9.29
5. Sonik (POL) +10.08
6. Alexis Hernandez (PER) +12.51