Winner of last year’s Dakar Rally, winner of last year’s OiLibya Rally and the leader of the World Cup classification. This year, Rafal Sonik will face an incredibly difficult challenge. In order to win the seventh trophy in his career, he has to be better at Sahara than a select company of rivals and he has to make his way to the highest step on the podium. ‘In South America, I promised that I will fight until the very last kilometre of the last special stage and this is my strategy for the deciding round of the season.’
The situation in the World Cup classification is not favourable. Kees Koolen, who has collected eight points of advantage and drives an unrivalled Barren Racer quad, is in the lead. In order for our six-times winner of the trophy to take the leader’s position from him, Rafał needs to win this round and the Dutch rider cannot be on the second place.
‘This will be a devilish job, but I promise you, I won’t crack up. My rivals offer a great challenge and I’m looking forward to competing with them at the Sahara’s routes. This is the last test before the Dakar Rally and a very prestigious rally to boot, so each and every one of us came here not only to test our vehicles before January’s ‘Odyssey’ in South America, but also to show our best sides,’ said Rafał Sonik.
‘I aim for the podium,’ he added shortly. ‘This season was not a lucky one for me. What began with my quad engine exploding and losing many points in Abu Dhabi, followed by an accident on Sardegna, a nasty failure in Chile, it ended with a broken ankle in Argentina. During the rally, I really hoped that I only sprained it. I wore high and hard shoes, which allowed me to go on, but after I returned to Poland, it turned out that one of the bones is broken and I spent the last month rehabilitating my leg and I could hardly train. I got on a quad only now – during the tests in Morocco.
According to the doctors, both the knee that got injured in June and the ankle are ready to face the hardships of a rally, even though the ankle might still hurt. ‘As the saying goes, “no pain, no gain”,’ laughed Sonik, who had to test his tolerance for pain many times to date.
Even though Kamil Wiśniewski won’t accompany the Polish master at OiLibya, another quad rider joined his team. A young rider, Zuzanna Ścibor, joined SuperSonik’s team to learn how to work a roadbook. Until now, she has specialised in motocross for the past 14 years. She is also the Polish cross-country champion, and going to Morocco is a part of her preparations for joining the baja rallies.
‘This will be an important experience for me and a significant step in my professional career. I will learn how to analyse and work the roadbook, I will also take this opportunity to drive through the last stage one day after the rally ends. And what is most important, I will be able to see how the team works from the inside, which will be very valuable,’ said Zuzanna, who is 21 years old.
The anniversary tenth edition of the OiLibya Rally begins on 4 October in Fez. An official ceremony is planned, during which the “legends of OiLibya Rally” will be honoured. On Thursday, we will see a prologue of 12 km. On Friday, the riders competing for the championship title and the FIM World Cup will race on different special stages, totalling over 1870 km in length.Tagi: OiLibya Rally, Rafał Sonik