Rafał Sonik kept his word. After the first part of the marathon stage he promised that he would reach the finish line of the Wednesday’s special stage despite the failure of his steering dumper. He did as he promised, though at the finish line he admitted that “he tired himself out immensely”. The effort did not go unawarded – the Polish rider had the second result in the quads class.
The second part of the marathon stage turned out to be even more demanding than the first one. The special stage was longer (315 km) and just as complex, with a long section of sandy dunes. ‘The pace of driving was quite reasonable today. I took the problems with the steering dumper into account and before the dunes began, I was ready. In a word, I knew how to manage a damaged quad,’ he said.
More importantly, sleeping in very primitive conditions: on wooden plank beds, in nomadic tents, allowed Sonik to regenerate before that incredibly difficult day. ‘I was simply exhausted on Tuesday. Multiple factors came together: physical tiredness, mental exhaustion, and my body, dried out and thirsty after a long day of racing on the desert. I just collapsed on the bed, and even though it was difficult to lie in a way that didn’t make my sore back and neck hurt more, nothing woke me up after that. Until the very morning.
‘I had this positive aggression in me all day long,’ he continued. ‘Being angry about yesterday’s failure and about yesterday’s ordeal kept me in check today and motivated me to fight. Unfortunately, I drove a significant part of the route in the dust raised first by bikers, then by cars. However, such time loss is a specific nature of our rallies. The important thing is that I reached the finish line.’
There are two stages of the OiLibya Rally left. Rafał Sonik is over 27 minutes behind the leader, Sebastien Souday. The French rival is driving for his second win in this year’s series. Rafał Sonik is only two days away from securing and celebrating the fifth World Cup in his career.
Results of the third stage:
1. Sebastien Souday (FRA) 04:04.35
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 1.16
3. Bruno da Costa (FRA) + +11.29
1. Sebastien Souday (FRA) 08:31.36
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 27.29
3. Bruno Da Costa (FRA) + 56.09