Rafał Sonik began the third day of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge by… being late for the start. It was caused by a failure of the GPS system delivered by the organizer. During the special stage, Rafał did not loose even a second and strengthened his leading position. Kamil Wiśniewski remains at the second place in the classification.
On Wednesday, at the sunrise, the first riders went off from the bivouac to reach the start line of the special stage. Rafał Sonik was a dozen or so minutes behind them, because organizers had to replace the wiring and the antennae in his GPS system. ‘I was late for the start, and then I had problems with fuelling my quad, but the day turned out well. I’m a bit overheated after the past three days, but I’m still the leader, so what more can I want?’ said the defender of the World Cup title.
The route, over 288 km long, became the stage for the duel between Rafał Sonik and Kees Koolen. Koolen, despite a huge loss in the general classification, does everything in his power to win the next stages of the competition and to show his worth. He was the first one to go on today’s stage – and he was also the first one to arrive at the finish line. Sonik was less than two minutes behind him.
‘I was driving alone for almost the entire stage. I did catch up with one quad and we navigated together for a while, but he quickly got left behind. I saw the traces of Kees Koolen’s tyres, and I could see that he’s driving at a good, strong pace. I tried to keep up the good rhythm and I was right. I had better and weaker moments, but if you have to drive 300 kilometres in such great heat, there is no way to avoid mistakes,’ he said.
Kamil Wiśniewski also felt the hardship of the three days of rivalry and slowed down a little. He was the seventh rider at the finish line, but he still kept his second place in the general classification.
On Wednesday, the riders will face 250 km of a special stage. Polish riders need to focus hard, because they are followed by two local quad riders, who not only manage the heat better, but they are simply perfect at reading the terrain. The fight for the podium will last until the very end of the competition.
Results of the third stage:
1. Kees Koolen (NED) 04:34.43
2. Rafał Sonik (POL) +1.38
3. Alexis Hernandez (PER) +6.05
7. Kamil Wiśniewski (POL) +19.36