Off-road rallies can be unpredictable not only because of the terrain, but also because of the wide range of failures that the bikes or quads might experience. During the Monday’s stage of the OiLibya Rally, Rafał Sonik lost his seat three times, and just as many times he came back for it, installing it back very provisionally. Despite these adventures, he takes up the third place with only a small loss to his rivals.
During the first stage, the participants had two parts of a special stage to cover, 70 km and 50 km respectively, divided by a part of the so-called neutralisation (35 km). The winner of this year’s FIM World Cup, who is testing his Dakar quad in Morocco, went out to race hungry for adrenaline and untouched routes of Sahara. However, only after 18 kilometres he had to… go back.
‘After I covered a part of the special stage standing, I wanted to sit down and it turned out that my chair is gone. I had to go back, find it, and install it as well as I could. Unfortunately, only after the third time I managed to fasten it well enough so that it stopped falling down. Until that point, I lost several minutes on going back and looking for my flying seat,’ laughed Sonik.
Despite this loss, the only Polish participant in the quads category was still in a good mood and reminded that this is not the first time that he had to deal with this rare failure. ‘In 2003, during the Super Motor Rally, as I was entering the first obstacle, I realised I had no seat. For 15 minutes and two loops I was sitting on the air filter, so after the stage ended, I looked like… a baboon,’ laughed Rafał Sonik.
Despite these problems and losing a few minutes, he still had the third time during the first stage. He arrived at the finish line with a much smaller loss to Sebastien Souday, who is the leader of the rally. The vice-leader position for now is in the hands of Bruno da Costa, but the second French participant has only 16 seconds of advantage over the Polish rider. ‘On Tuesday we begin the marathon stage, so out of the two lesser evils, it’s better that the seat flew away today. Tomorrow, it would be a much serious problem,’ he concluded.
During the second stage, the participants will face 290 km of a special stage, followed by a night at the desert, and another special stage of 300 km.
1. Sebastien Souday (FRA) 1:01.42
2. Bruno Da Costa (FRA) + 3.55
3. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 6.38
1. Sebastien Souday (FRA) 44.42
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 1.13
3. Bruno Da Costa (FRA) + 3.24
1. Sebastien Souday 1:52.02
2. Bruno Da Costa + 7.57
3. Rafał Sonik + 8.13