Rafał Sonik met his goal and was among the top fifteen riders, in the joint classification of quad and bike riders during the prologue to Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. This allowed him to choose his position for the first stage of the race. Kamil Wiśniewski was slightly less fortunate – by five hundredths of a second, to be exact. Kamil will have a harder task to deal with on Sunday.
The route of the prologue at Al Forsan International Sports Resort was far from easy. ‘The track was very tight. Only the tracks were dry, the soil on the sides was wet and very soft. We did some reconnaissance in the morning and we knew that only by sticking to the dry tracks we would be able to get a good result,’ explained Rafał Sonik.
Ultimately, fourteen out of the registered seventeen quad riders appeared at the start line of the first World Cup round. Interestingly, the riders went off for the prologue in pairs, driving along alternative cross-roads and as luck would have it, the two Polish riders were placed together. Both white&red quads arrived at the finish line almost at the same time, but “almost” made a huge difference.
Six-times winner of the World Cup was faster by half a second, which gave him 14th place in the general classification with bike riders. ‘Tomorrow, I’ll start as the 30th rider and this should be a good starting point for attacking the highest positions. Kamil will be fifth and this is not bad, actually. He can still fight for a place among the top riders,’ commented Sonik.
‘Of course, this is only theory,’ he continued. ‘After the rain, desert can surprise us all. Organizers have told us that there will be a lot of sticky sand in the second half of this stage, so it can happen that the strategy of the best riders will misfire, as they will lose speed along the road… The most important thing is that both me and Kamil are in good form and we can’t wait for tomorrow.’
Kamil Wiśniewski, even though the fate did not smile at him, doesn’t put his tail between his legs and is looking forward to the Sunday’s race. ‘The true fight begins tomorrow! In total, we have about 500 km to cover, with almost 300 km of the special stage. We know it’ll be hot, so we’ll need to make sure to stay hydrated.’
The first stage of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge begins on Sunday at 07:00, Polish time. Kamil Wiśniewski starts at 07:12 and Rafał Sonik – at 07:50. The riders start three minutes apart.
Results of the prologue: