It was a classic sporting way from hell to heaven. On the first day of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Aron Domżała suffered health problems. On the second day, the car failed. On the third day, several precious minutes were lost because of adventures. In the last two stages, Polish duo showed a real rally class. Strong but above all, fast pace of driving let them burst into the top and jump on the podium.
“Already the first stage proved to be very demanding. We had a clean run, but the pace – although smooth and even – wasn’t satisfying. Especially that in the last hundred kilometers I got felt motion sickness, which I hadn’t experienced even in much bigger dunes in Peru,” Aron Domżała said after the first day of the rally.
Luckily, the driver had pills with him, that let him peacefully finish the stage and prevent him from similar problems on the next days. On the second day, the one that felt bad was… the car. In a certain moment , the Toyota Hilux lost the power and the crew lost a dozen minutes to fix it. Therefore, Aron Domżała and Maciej Marton started the third stage as the 6th crew on the route.
“I think that at the beginning we were a bit sleepy after a long break in racing,” Maciej Marton admitted. “At the halfway we reached a good pace, but again we lost a few minutes. This time we pulled our colleagues’ car out of the hole between dunes, and by the end of the stage we needed such help ourselves. An interesting fact about this year’s edition of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is that for the first time we had full navigation, with hidden, and not open waypoints. It’s a difficulty, but I like it very much and I don’t have major problems with finding the right way,” he added.
After three days of racing, Polish crew was still ranked 6th, but then with the next stage the turning point came. Aron Domżała set a strong pace and at first for a long time he fought wheel-to-wheel with Vladimir Vasiliev, and right before the finish he caught the rally’s vice-leader, Khalid Al-Qassimi. The Toyota crew was the runner-up that day, beaten only by “Monsieur Dakar”, Stephane Peterhansel, co-driven by his wife, Andrea. That excellent result meant also a jump to 3rd place in the overall standings.
On the last day, keeping the position was the goal. The plan was put into practice.
“It was another good day. Sometimes driving in dunes may be a really great pleasure. We couldn’t imagine a better scenario for the first rally since the unlucky Dakar. It gives us an extraordinary energy for the next starts,” Aron Domżała concluded.
Winner of Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge was Stephane Peterhansel, in front of 2nd placed Khalid Al-Qassimi, while Aron Domżała stepped on the lowest step of the podium. Another Pole in the line-up was unlucky in the rally – Kuba Przygoński had a mechanical issue at the start of Stage 4. He was the fastest on the last day, but with a penalty for not finishing the penultimate stage, he didn’t have a chance for a good overall result in the rally.
Source: Press release of Aron Domzala
Translation: Anna Michalska, Rita Kónya