Roma Wins the Dakar Rally

Nani Roma’s decade-long wait is over…

The 41-year-old Spanish rally racing driver won the Dakar Rally over the weekend.

Nani Roma

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.

Nani Roma

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.”

Roma and Coma Maintain Their Dakar Rally Lead

It’s full lead ahead for Nani Roma and Marc Coma

The Spanish rally racer driver and Spanish rally race motorcycle rider kept their comfortable overall leads in the Dakar Rally after a fast eighth stage on Monday.

Dakar Rally

Both took different high-altitude routes down into Chile.

Roma and the cars undertook a 300-kilometer special from Salta, Argentina, over the Andes.

Roma endured two punctures on the stony track and finished sixth, losing eight minutes off his lead over defending champion Stephane Peterhansel of France.

Peterhansel was down to 24 minutes off the pace. Giniel de Villiers of South Africa remained 48 minutes behind in third, and Orlando Terranova of Argentina stayed fourth, 51 minutes back. They were the only ones within an hour of Roma.

Peterhansel was second in the stage, about a minute behind winner Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, who led in his Mini most of the way for his 18th Dakar stage victory. Carlos Sainz of Spain was third.

Coma and the motorbikes left from Uyuni, Bolivia, on a 460-kilometer trek around the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s biggest salt flats.

Coma, with a big overall lead, was happy to stay on the tail of his great rival, Cyril Despres of France, the titleholder who won his first stage of the year.

Despres beat Joan Barreda Bort of Spain and Coma by more than two minutes, but Despres was still more than two hours behind Coma overall.

Barreda remained second and 38 minutes behind Coma overall, and the only rider within an hour of the leader.

But the rally returns to the treacherous sand dunes on Tuesday, racing through the Atacama Desert from Calama to Iquique.