A sharp rock that Rafał Sonik encountered on the way and broken navigation device were the reasons why he wasn’t able to keep up the proper pace for the majority of the Tuesday’s stage. At the finish line, it turned out that the handlebar next to the punctured tyre was bent, the rims were bent, and the seat broke. This shows how difficult, harsh, and hostile to humans and machines the desert in Qatar is.
The first quad rider to begin the stage was Ignacio Casale, who didn’t even once appear within Rafał’s range of vision. It was all due to the fact that Rafał Sonik lost one of the most important navigation devices shortly after the start. ‘Just before I left for the special stage, my speedocap, that is my electronic compass, fogged and then stopped working at all. I had to navigate using two other devices, putting partial data together, and so I drove more slowly and I made more mistakes,’ he explained.
That wasn’t the only problem that the World Cup leader had to face. 40 km into the stage, he hit a rock with the front wheel and punctured the tyre. ‘I hit it pretty hard. I was worried that I damaged the arm, but I ‘only’ had a flat tyre. Unfortunately, I had to manage on my own for another 120 km, until the service stop, where my mechanics could replace the wheel,’ said Rafał.
The second part of the stage went better, but Rafał was not able to regain what he had lost. Additionally, the participants faced incredible heat – which was very problematic, as the wind was no longer blowing, like it had been during day one. ‘Today was a difficult day, full of adventures, but I’ve got nothing to complain about. Considering what had happened, the loss is quite minuscule. It could’ve been much worse.’
The four-time winner of the Qatar Rally was right. After he arrived at the bivouac, it turned out that the quad is quite heavily damaged. It meant that the service team had to work all night long. ‘Bent handlebar next to the punctured tyre, torn rear tyre, broken seat, wheel alignment was off, rims were bent,’ listed Jarek Zając, the mechanic in Rafał Sonik’s team.
On Wednesday, the participants will face the third stage of the rally, which is 355 km long. ‘I’m optimistic, because it can’t be Sunday every day! There are three more days of the rally ahead of us, and a lot can still happen,’ added SuperSonik, who is 14 minutes behild Ignacio Casale in the general classification.