Rafał Sonik completed the fourth stage of the Atacama Rally with a broad smile on his face. The smile was caused not only by his result, but also by the pleasurable drive during the Friday’s special stage. ‘It was a truly fantastic experience. “Hołek” would be in heaven. I was, too,’ said Sonik and smiled.
The second to last special stage of the Rally was 337 kilometres long and led the contestants through the vast desert terrain in the vicinity of Baha Inglesa. Like the day before, the contestants got pretty chilled before they felt the merciless heat among the sands and rocks of the Atacama. The start was delayed and the wind raging underneath the clouded sky took its tool.
The first part of the special stage was difficult and navigation was complicated, but the second part made up for all the hard work. ‘It was truly a perfect day. I didn’t make any mistakes, I drove smoothly, and nothing distracted me. My quad did very well, and I could drive as fast as possible along the winding metalled roads meandering along mountain slopes. What’s more, sun rays fell slightly from the side, refracting and painting extraordinary contrasts between light and shadow. It was a sheer pleasure. It was the best and the most beautiful stages that I have ever completed,’ said Sonik, clearly emotional and happy.
The World Cup and the Rally leader stated that the only thing that he missed was… power. ‘It’s like the Dakar Rally here. After a couple of days you get into this perfect driving rhythm, you can drive faster and faster. But to do that, you need good suspension (mine is perfectly regulated), perfect balance (Raptor passes this requirement with flying colours) and power. I was slightly short of the latter, but looking back at the entire day, it’s a very minor thing,’ explained Rafał.
At the finish line, Rafał Sonik had a surprise waiting for him. He was welcomed by a family of Chilean fans, who have been rooting for the Polish quad rider for years. Godoy Aldana and his son, Christian, brought a photograph taken in Huasco during last year’s Atacama Rally showing them and their idol. In response, Rafał gave them signed gifts and invited them to have dinner together.
On Saturday, the contestants will face only 102 kilometres of a special stage, followed by the final ceremony and driving through the honorary ramp.