Rafał Sonik ended the rally in the fourth round of the FIM World Cup on the third place. The last stage of the rivalry, like the two before it, were won by Kees Koolen, who won Desafio Ruta 40. He also became the new leader in the series. Rafał Sonik kept his second place.
The last stage of the fight in the Argentinian wilderness took the competitors to the city of Tucuman. The riders began racing in the valley of the Belen river and went up with the column to 3500 m above sea level. The route took them through the mountains, crossing steep and quite dangerous precipices, only to go down into the valleys and the jungle growing in the area surrounding the finish line.
‘This stage was the same as the second to last stage of the 2015 Dakar Rally. I thanked God then that I didn’t need to fight for every second on those tight and curvy paths. At times, the rocky shelves were only a quad wide, and all you could see below was space that would make you dizzy,’ said Sonik, who tried to race with his two rivals this time. Ultimately, they slipped beyond his reach.
The rally in Argentina was won by Kees Koolen, who became the fourth leader of the World Cup series this year. First, this position went to Fahad Al-Musallam (Kuwait). Next, Rafał Sonik took the lead. Alexis Hernandez took it from him two weeks ago, and now the leader’s position went to the Dutchman. With such a tight and close competition, any scenario is still possible. It will be the Morocco Rally that will decide on who gets the trophy.
‘I had my doubts about these two rallies in South America. My knee is still not fully functional after I injured it in June, so my goal was not to win, but to get onto the podium. Considering the fact that I sprained my ankle in Argentina, the third place in Desafio Ruta 40 and the second place in the general classification of this season is quite an achievement, but I always aim for the highest step on the podium. This is why I’m a little dissatisfied and I will try to make up for it – and more – in Morocco,’ said the defender of the World Cup title, who is famous for his attitude: he never gives up.
The last act of the fight for the primacy on the quads scene in the cross-country world will take place between 4 and 10 October. For the majority of riders, OiLibya Rally is also the last test before the Dakar Rally, which is held at its former routes in the Sahara Desert.
Results of the fifth stage (FIM):
1. Kees Koolen (NLD) 2:43.59
2. Hernandez (PER) +4.07
3. Pablo Copetti (ARG) +4.51
4. Rafał Sonik (POL) +9.34
5. Rodolfo Guillioli (GUA) +2.29.42
Quads classification (FIM):
1. Kees Koolen (NLD) 25:48.12
2. Pablo Copetti (ARG) +10.19
3. Sonik (POL) +22.06
4. Rodolfo Guillioli (GUA) + 2.48.28
5. Alexis Hernandez (PER) +36:21.36
FIM World Cup Classification:
1. Kees Koolen (NLD) 81 points
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) 73 points
3. Alexis Hernandez (PER) 70 points
4. Rodolfo Guillioli (GUA) 47 points
5. Ignacio Casale (CHL) 28