The first stage of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge clearly showed that two great rivals – Rafał Sonik and Ignacio Casale – will be the ones to fight for the first place in the quad category. On Sunday, the Chilean participant had the upper hand, because Rafał lost a few valuable minutes on repairing a failure. He also had to pay close attention to fuel levels, because his Honda drank the gas like crazy.
‘The terrain was fantastic, and I’m very happy with my result, because it could’ve been much worse. I was very surprised to see that my quad burned through 20 litres for 100 km. It looks like our gas mix is so rich that while it allows for better cooling, gas consumption is something that I need to be very weary about. I managed to reached the first fuel stop on vapours. Five more kilometres and I would be stuck! Probably one of the participants would’ve helped me, but the time loss would be very severe,’ said Rafał Sonik.
The four-time winner of the World Cup had a small failure of the exhaust, which got screwed off in the first part of the route and Rafał Sonik had to spend a few minutes to repair it. ‘Unfortunately, during this race, the service team is not allowed to help me during the fuel stops. I had to spend a few minutes to repair it, when the clock was already on. But had I not done it, I risked not reaching the finish line at all,’ concluded Sonik.In the end, “SuperSonik” arrived at the finish line five minutes after Ignacio Casale, but as there are four more days ahead of them, he is not worried too much about it. ‘From what I gather, Ignacio followed Mohammed Al-Balooshi for the majority of the stage. Riding with a biker improves your speed – in particular if the biker is local. And I navigated and drove alone for 80% of the stage, so the loss of a few minutes at this stage is no loss,’ he ended, on an optimistic note.
On Tuesday, the participants will again face the dunes, with a 279 km of a special stage ahead of them.
Results of the first stage:
1. Ignacio Casale (CHL) 04:33.48
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 4.54
3. Camelia Liparoti (ITA) + 29.28
1. Ignacio Casale (CHL) 04:35.51
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 5.58
3. Camelia Liparoti (ITA) + 29.45