Rafal Sonik Claims 2015 ATV Dakar Crown for Yamaha
Rafal Sonik has claimed his first Dakar victory on the Yamaha Raptor 700. Securing two stage wins, four second places and one third place ensured he was a favourite to win the 2015 Dakar. Sonik was a contender from the outset, finishing the race with almost a three hour lead over his closest rival.
The Polish rider had a consistent start to this year’s Dakar, which proved to be key. Finding his groove over the first three stages, he soon took over the lead in the general standings from fellow Yamaha Raptor 700 Rider Ignacio Casale and dominated the fourth and fifth stage.
The quad category turned into a heated duel between the two Yamaha riders and as expected Casale didn’t give up easily. Sonik managed to hold on to the overall lead for most of the Rally and managed to build his four-minute overall lead to almost three hours as key rivals withdrew.
Over the last three stages, Sonik’s biggest enemies became the elements. Rain and storms made the roads slippery, but he kept his focus and cautiously cruised back to Buenos Aires to claim victory.
Sonik’s passion for Dakar and quad racing was never shaken as he waited seven years to see his dream come true. In 2000, he created Poland’s quad federation, ATV Polska. Nine years later he entered his first Dakar, finishing in third place, an amazing achievement that he repeated in 2013 when he also founded the Poland National Team.
Last year ‘Super Sonik’ came very close to his first win, but in the end had to be satisfied with second. Having matured from his previous Dakar experiences, he learned many valuable lessons about racing and himself, which he used to his advantage this year.
Rafal Sonik – 1st / 57h18’39 – “I’ve been looking forward to this moment for seven years and I never stopped believing. This victory’s for everyone who dreams of the Dakar but can’t take part in it. I want to share this victory with all the people in my team, who’ve never stopped dreaming of the Dakar. I think they deserve this victory too.”
Eric De Seynes – Operational Director, Yamaha Motor Europe – “The Dakar remains possibly the toughest challenge available to us in our racing activities in the world. To successfully complete it is a great achievement; to win your class is exceptional. Yamaha Motor Europe is very proud of Rafal’s success in this year’s Dakar, he has proved that with determination and a good machine, you can beat the best. He has shown himself as a real contender over recent years so we knew it was only a matter of time before he put the Raptor 700 onto the top step of the Dakar podium. More so than any other race, the Dakar also requires a very strong, committed and professional team to bring the rider home. Congratulations to Rafal and also the Sonik Team!”
Dakar Rally 2015: ATV Overall Ranking
1. Rafal Sonik, POL (Yamaha) 57:18:39
2. Jeremias González Ferioli, ARG (Yamaha) 60:13:29
3. Walter Nosiglia, BOL (Honda) 61:01:35
4. Nelson Sanabria, PRY (Yamaha) 61:28:36
5. Christophe Declerck, FRA (Yamaha) 63:07:19
6. Daniel Domaszewski, ARG (Honda) 65:54:49
7. Sebastián Palma, CHL (Can-AM) 67:48:53
8. Santiago Hansen, ARG (Honda) 70:43:09
9. Hannes Saaijman, ZAF (Yamaha) 70:47:17
10. André Suguita , BRA (Honda) 79:39:53