A lot of people complained that the 35th edition of Dakar was too easy and that too many vehicles reached the finish line. The organizers of the rally did their best to ensure that the 2014 route made up for that. 60% of the participants did not reach the finish line. Many favourites waived the race goodbye. Those who reached the finish line were winners. Those who came up on the podium – were heroes. Rafał Sonik can truly be proud of himself. Having covered almost nine thousand kilometres, he made history by climbing up to the second place.
“SuperSonik” went off the beaten track in South America as the Poland National Team Captain and once gain he served as a role model for his team colleagues. Three stages in, he took over the first place in the general classification, even though he had a lot of trouble with the fuel pump.
On the second day, before the special stage, I had to use a bottle, a pipe, and my own mouth to pump the fuel from the lower tank to the upper tank. I burned my hands, I had an awful after-taste in my mouth, but it was worth it. I reached the finish line with sheer willpower, because 200 metres before the line I used up the last drop of fuel,
– recalls Sonik.
The fourth and the fifth stages brought poorly prepared roadbook and a penalty for missing a waypoint with them. Sonik went down in the classification to the third place, but he kept close to Ignacio Casale and Sergio Lafuente, who were ahead of him. Despite a weaker engine and the fact that the rivals used forbidden assistance along the way, he managed to move one place up. He managed to keep it even when he had to cover over 600 km with a flat tyre and when he broke the rear axis while driving to the last bivouac and he got overtaken by his own wheel.
He triumphed at the finish ramp. He had every right to feel like a winner, because even though the main trophy went to Ignacio Casale (Chile), eight top bike riders called him the winner of Dakar 2014.
I had no chance of fighting for a better place in these conditions, so this is a great success. It took me six years to get here and I haven’t said the last word yet. I want to race on quads for at least several years,
– promised the first Pole to take the second place of the Dakar Rally.