The winner of this year’s FIM World Cup once again proved that he enjoys long special stages best. Rafał Sonik was unrivalled at the fourth special stage of the Morocco Rally. It took him over a quarter of an hour less to cover the 319-kilometre-long distance than Bruno da Costa, who was the second one to arrive at the finish line. However, his win cost him a lot of pain and blisters on his hands.
The beginning of the special stage promised difficult but very satisfying driving, but a hundred kilometres in, the steering dumper, which had been replaced by the service team, stopped working again. ‘I tried to regulate it, but it kept getting blocked. Like in the two days before, driving became extremely difficult. I had to put in a lot of force each time I turned, and half-way through today’s route, I felt as if I held red-hot metal. But, as they say: ‘no pain, no gain,’ ended Sonik with a smile.
At the finish line, he felt truly satisfied. Despite this very difficult ordeal and huge pain on the way, he managed to win this stage, 16 minutes ahead of Bruno da Costa and almost 20 minutes ahead of Sebastien Souday. ‘Such a win tastes great, because I know how much I had to go through to get there. Now I need to have my hands “resuscitated”. Yesterday my osteopath, Staszek Czopek, rubbed kilograms of cream into them. I rubbed my gloves off today, so the fight with blisters and callouses will drag on.’
Only one stage is left until the end of the rally, 230 km long. The focal point of the stage is to be Erg Chebbi – a true sea of sandy and picturesque Saharan dunes. ‘After these technical problems I suffered, I might not have enough kilometres to catch up. I’m superstitious, so it’s too early to make any summaries and to talk about the finish line of the Morocco Rally,’ he concluded.
Results of the fourth stage:
1. Rafał Sonik (POL) 4:29.15
2. Bruno da Costa (FRA) + 16.34
3. Sebastien Souday (FRA) + 19.41
1. Sebastien Souday (FRA) 13:20.32
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 27.48
3. Bruno da Costa (FRA) + 53.02