Nani Roma’s decade-long wait is over…
The 41-year-old Spanish rally racing driver won the Dakar Rally over the weekend.
Roma’s win in the car race comes exactly 10 years after he won the Dakar Rally on a motorcycle.
Stephane Peterhansel, the Dakar’s record 11-time winner and defending champion, began the race’s shortest stage of 157 kilometers with a 26-second lead but the Frenchman slowed down and even stopped to let teammate Roma roll first to the finish line.
The move ensured Roma, Peterhansel and third-place teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar followed controversial team orders from late Wednesday to freeze their positions to ensure a podium sweep.
Their Minis deliberately reached the finish line together and the sweep was achieved.
Ten years after winning the motorbikes race in North Africa, Roma became the third man to also win the Dakar in a car, after Peterhansel and Hubert Auriol.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Roma, who dedicated the win to former co-driver Henri Magne, who died in a race in 2006.
Victory for Roma and co-driver Michel Perin also meant they stayed unbeaten for a fifth straight rally.
Peterhansel said, “We had lots of fun driving but I’m frustrated with the final result. Nani’s my friend, and I’m pleased to see him happy because it’s been his dream for 10 years, since he shifted to a car.”