A brand new rally in the FIM World Cup calendar, new lands, unexplored terrains, and an unprecedented experience. The challenge is all but easy; there are hardly any rallies during which participants race for ten days straight and for almost 6,000 kilometers. Just before his debut in the Silk Way Rally, Rafał Sonik is both excited and motivated. The cross-country champion is determined to win the struggle across the wilderness of Russia, Mongolia, and China.
“I’ve competed in dozens of countries but never in the Far East. Rather than anxiety, I feel the excitement. After over twenty years of sporting experience and a decade of racing in many deserts around the globe, I’m confident I can handle this one as well. I’ve been told that navigation may be very tricky but this is what makes our competition one of the kind. I’m looking forward to racing long distances daily. After all, the longer the better! I suppose that the organizer’s idea was to offer another Dakar-type rally, and since I wasn’t able to participate in Peru this year, the Silk Way Rally is my way of making up for it,” said Rafał Sonik during the prep time before the start.
The seven-time FIM World Cup winner used his training in the Błędów Desert in Poland to prepare for the new challenge. “We are not very familiar with the area of the upcoming race. Instead of trying to find a similar terrain to practice, we put my new quad to a series of tests. It’s basically the same as my previous one but a few details are different. I’ve already driven in for over 400 km and I’m positive it will do great in the steppes of Mongolia and the sands of the Gobi Desert,” asserted the champion from Krakow.
SuperSonik’s most serious opponent will be Aleksander Maksimow. The Russian driver will most likely try to hold his FIM World Cup leader’s position from 2018. Besides, the first two days of the Silk Way Rally take place in his familiar territory. “In every sports discipline, there are factors that give the hosts some advantage. However, eight out of ten days take place in Mongolia and China. I have no idea if Alexander has practiced in those areas before but I believe we have equal chances of winning,” explained Rafał Sonik.
“I won every long-distance race in the world at least one time, and some of them, even a few times,” he continued, “I had to work hard to win some of them. During the Silk Way Rally, I will strive to win at the first attempt. However, if something gets in my way to victory, it will only motivate me to prepare better and win the next edition. I never risk it all but rather keep the margin of safety. As far as this race goes, the most important thing in the context of the World Cup competition is to make it to the finish line and gain points in the general ranking. Careful consideration and adequate planning are essential here. One participates in a rally to enjoy every day and every kilometer. I’m looking forward to that long distance ahead of us,” concluded Rafał Sonik.
The Silk Way Rally begins on the 6th of July in Irkutsk, Russia. The first stage sets off on Sunday, July 7, and will take the drivers along the shores of Lake Baikal. On Tuesday, the participants will race in Mongolia, and the last three days belong to the Gobi Desert in China. Those who preserve will reach the final finish line on the 16th of July in Dunhuang. Another Polish driver taking part in the competition is Arkadiusz Lindner. Moreover, Adam Tomiczek and Maciej Giemza will fight for points in the motorcycle category. A team of Grzegorz Brochocki and Krzysztof Wicentowicz will represent Poland in the car category.