“I finally started to keep up with my normal pace”, said Rafal Sonik shortly after finishing the fourth stage of the Morocco Rally. It was the first stage since his serious injury that he completed with the best result in the quad category. The champion from Krakow climbed to the second position in the general ranking of the rally and the only challenge left between him and the FIM World Cup podium is the road between Erfoud and Fes.
Even though Sonik enjoyed conquering the fourth stage, his memories from the first part of the two-day marathon will not be pleasant. “I had to waste an hour and a half to fix the mount for my navigation system. To my doom, I ignored the scorching sun and the dire necessity to stay hydrated. Consequently, the second part of the stage was a nightmare. After reaching the bivouac site, I felt absolutely terrible and the headache was killing me. Luckily, the next morning, my body and my quad recuperated and didn’t fail me on the road”, he reported.
“SuperSonik” nailed the nearly 300-kilometer stretch, winning his first stage in this year’s World Cup season. It is also the first win since his serious injury and the comeback to competing with the world’s best cross-country drivers last August. “Just like before the start in South American rallies, I’ve been following a simple approach in this race. I may not win but I won’t risk another serious injury. It’s wiser to swallow the bitter pill of losing, especially when you know you can do better, than get injured again and face the vision of a long and stagnant period of physical therapy”, asserted the champion.
“From that perspective, this is great news”, continued Sonik. “I used 90% of my abilities in today’s race. I may not have got the best possible result but at least I can feel that I’m only a little bit short of reaching my full potential, much less than 25%! I’ve started to get back on track and catch my regular rhythm after the injury. I enjoyed the ride and didn’t feel any pain. I was able to press on gas, surf across the dunes, and at last, feel the pleasure of being the first on the finish line”, smiled Rafał Sonik with visible contentment.
Monday also did not spare technical challenges to Aleksander Maksimow, the current leader of the rally and the general classification. “He is in great physical shape, has an excellent navigational experience, and a very well-prepared vehicle. It is a challenging competitor and I hope that we will be able to race against each other in all scheduled rounds of the next season” said the Polish rider. After finishing the stage, he presented his Russian rival with a piece of the frame that Maksimow had damaged during the race; it was essential in repairing the machine before the last day of the rally.
Fes, which is the final point of the Morocco Rally and this year’s FIM World Cup, is still 457 kilometers away from the participants, including 198 kilometers of the last special stage. Aleksander Maksimow has already secured the first position in the general ranking, while Rafał Sonik is fighting for the second spot.