The first day of the Dakar’s marathon stage is the day when majority of participants eases up a little, so that the equipment is in better condition for another day of the contest. Unfortunately, Rafał Sonik had to slow down for a completely different reason. His quad was losing oil and he feared he would not be able to reach the finish line of the special stage.
On the way to the special stage the ORLEN team champion noticed a problem that caused troubles for the entire day – and he will have to deal with it on Thursday as well. ‘My clutch cover is leaking oil. Probably it’s just a damaged seal. It’s all because sudden changes of temperatures or sudden changes of pressure. It’s happened before and we don’t know how to avoid it,’ commented Sonik, clearly worked up.
Despite that, Sonik did not want for optimism. ‘It could’ve been worse. I reached the finish line, and for the majority of the route I wasn’t sure I would make it.
At the Jujuy bivouac the competitors have left their rides in the ferme park and may not make any repairs. On Thursday, “SuperSonik” will need to fight the leak again. ‘I’ll just top up the oil and see what happens. If it’s not too bad, I’ll try to go faster. In my current situation, I have to push harder,’ he concluded.
Even more so, Rafał Sonik, who won the Dakar Rally last year, arrived at the finish line with the 9th time recorded. The competition is made harder by the fact that the local participants know the area like the back of their pockets. ‘Today I drove standing, with my eyes keen and looking straight ahead, like a miner. A meter-deep ditch could pop up at any time. And Marcos Patronelli passed me by, sitting, at full speed…
On the second day of the marathon the Dakar Rally’s convoy will enter Bolivia, where another special stage will take place at 4,600 m above sea level. Luckily, Rafał Sonik adjusted quite well to the 3500 m above sea level he had to face on Wednesday. ‘I was a bit sluggish at the beginning, but I got better. I’ll have to take coca leaves on me tomorrow, because we are going much higher, and it’ll be much more difficult,’ said Sonik.
PKN ORLEN supports Rafał Sonik’s participation in the rally.
Results of the fourth stage:
1. Alexis Hernandez (PER) 4:53.23
2. Marcos Patronelli (ARG) + 0.04
3. Ignacio Casale (CHL) + 0.38
9. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 9.12
1. Ignacio Casale (CHL) 11:55.41
2. Marcelo Medeiros (BRA) + 11.17
3. Alejandro Patronelli (ARG) + 14.08
7. Rafał Sonik (POL) + 20.07