10 Jan 2014

Roma back in front on Dakar Rally

4:02 pm on 10 January 2014

The Spanish driver Nani Roma has reclaimed the Dakar Rally lead as compatriot Marc Coma soared to the top of the motorcycling standings after a brutal fifth stage in Argentina in which temperatures nudged 40 degrees.

Roma, in a Mini, had led after three stages and he reasserted his authority on the day's gruelling 912-kilometre run.

In the overall standings, Roma has a lead of 26 minutes and 28 seconds over Qatar's 2011 champion and Mini team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar.

Carlos Sainz, the 2010 champion who had led overnight, slumped to sixth overall, almost an hour behind Roma, after a nightmare day when the Spanish veteran endured a number of navigational errors.

The motorcycling section of the race was shortened as the heat was deemed to be close to danger levels for the riders.

Former champion Coma, on a KTM, has a 41-minute lead over Honda's Joan Barreda, the previous leader.