Joan “Nani” Roma claims his first stage win at the 2015 Dakar Rally
Joan “Nani” Roma claims his first stage win at the 2015 Dakar Rally // MINI one-two-three win on leg nine // MINI ALL4 Racing extends its lead in the overall classification to almost 24 minutes.
MINI is continuing to show a dominant pace at the 2015 Dakar Rally. Joan “Nani” Roma and his co-driver Michel Périn, the 2014 Dakar Champions, have won stage nine at the Dakar claiming their first stage win at this year’s event. The MINI ALL4 Racing has won eight out of nine stages at the 2015 Dakar Rally so far.
Roma/Périn, who had achieved two stage podiums and five top ten positions after a difficult start into the event, showed great navigation skills on the 451 kilometre-long leg finishing 6:27 minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
“This win is for my guys and the team,” Roma said. “They did a great job. Today, we finally experienced a trouble-free day and didn’t encounter the slightest problem. And Michel once again delivered in sensational style. The special stage was an extreme challenge. The dunes weren’t that difficult but afterwards, the going got really tough.”
Roma and Périn took the right turn at a waypoint after 300 kilometre while a lot of other drivers got lost. It was the key to success today. “Here, you had to follow the compass direction absolutely exactly,” Périn said. “But many of the others yawed and consequently lost their way.”
It was an all MINI podium on day eleven at the Dakar: Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR) posted the second fastest time on Tuesday, Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU) in another MINI ALL4 Racing followed in a strong third place.
Al-Attiyah/Baumel extended their lead in the overall classification by almost 16 minutes. They are now 23:58 minutes ahead of their closest opponents De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz, who were almost 22 minutes behind today.
“This was the most difficult stage of the Dakar so far, we are so very happy to get to the finish,” Al-Attiyah said. “The main thing was just to be calm and easy, as the wind and the dust meant that we couldn’t see the road. Thank you again to my co-driver Mathieu Baumel, who was perfect. I hope together we’ve done a good job and that it’s enough to bring us closer to winning the Dakar.”
On leg nine from Iquique (CL) to Calama (CL) the drivers had to tackle some high and very challenging dunes again. Later they had to master bumpy mountain roads with very loose gravel and a lot of potholes. The tricky terrain was extremely hard on the tires. Thus a lot of drivers had to change their damaged wheels during the day.
Six MINI ALL4 Racing finished within the top ten on Tuesday. Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR) were in sixth followed by Orlando Terranova/Bernardo Graue (AR/AR). Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL) in the MINI ALL4 Racing crossed the line in ninth place moving up one position in the overall classification. The Dutch duo is now in fifth, one position behind Holowczyc/Panseri.
On Wednesday the Dakar will cross the Andes again on its way back to Argentina. The air will be very thin again as the cars go up to almost 5,000 metres above sea level on the way from Calama (CL) to Salta (AR). Stage ten will be held at an altitude of up to 4,400 metres and will be another tough challenge for cars and drivers alike.