Maintaining his leading position, Rafał Sonik reached the finish line in Dunhuang and won the Silk Way Rally. The Polish racer is now the leader of the FIM World Cup which final rounds will take place in Chile and Morocco. “The winning factors were a proper strategy and great preparation of the team, the quad, and myself, both physically and mentally. We were all determined to fight for the victory,” commented the quad driver, happy to be the first to cross the finish line.
The last stage of the rally took the participants from Jiayuguan to Dunhuang. The special stage was 255km long and challenged the racers’ concentration skills from the very start. With a significant advantage over Aleksander Maksimow, Rafał Sonik didn’t pick up too much speed. “Those types of situations call for considerable caution and care for the vehicle. Certainly, after nine days of racing, the exhaustion is real, but I’ve worked out this strange coping mechanism for myself; as the rally proceeds, I get used to the strain and I always wake up feeling regenerated for another day. That’s what happened during all past Dakar rallies, and that’s what happened during this year’s Silk Way Rally as well,” Sonik asserted with a smile.
At the last stage, SuperSonik’s Russian opponent was not able to make up for the lost minutes to change his position, losing 1,5h to the leader. For the Polish champion, the key to success was a strong motivation and thorough preparation. “Back in Irkutsk, I realized that Arek Lindner and I are probably the first Polish quad drivers in that part of Siberia, and later in Mongolia, and the Gobi Desert. I wanted to honor that privilege and finish the race with a good result. My team was on board with the plan, sharing my determination to fight for the first position, using not only the power of muscles and the engine but also the power of the mind. In the end, you can only win when you keep your mind sharp and clear in the midst of heat, dust, and growing exhaustion,” commented the race driver.
“We all approached the Silk Way Rally the way we would approach the Dakar Rally.” continued Sonik. “We knew we had to depend on our supplies of stamina, energy, sleep, and concentration for ten straight days. That’s what we did and we managed to win the last of the three longest rallies in the world that we hadn’t won before. In reality, we couldn’t do it earlier because quads and motorcycles had never taken part in this rally before. Our satisfaction in winning this exceptional edition of the SWR is far greater because of that. I am very grateful to my fans and family, but the team’s continuous effort to succeed is hard to overestimate,” added the Polish champion.
By winning the Silk Way Rally, Rafał Sonik claimed the leading spot in the FIM World Cup classification. At the finish line, he praised his main competitor, Aleksander Maksimow. “He’s very well-prepared and very fast as proven in the last few rounds. We have different strategies, teams, and training methods. He is a serious opponent, so I’m even more excited about having defeated him in Abu Dhabi and here as well. Beating the champion is a big deal.”
There are two more rounds of this year’s FIM World Cup left. In the first week of September, the race takes place in the Atacama Desert in Chile, and a month later, the participants will close the season in the Moroccan Sahara.
FIM World Cup general classification:
1. Rafał Sonik (POL) 72
2. Aleksander Maksimow (RUS) 60
3. Fahad Al-Mussalam (KUW) 28
4. Arkadiusz Lindner (POL) 25
FIM World Cup veteran classification:
1. Rafał Sonik (POL) 56
2. David McBride (GBR) 23
3. Guillaume Martens (NLD) 23
4. David Mabbs (GBR) 19
5. Benjamin Young (AUS) 16