After an ill-fated opening stage, defending Dakar Rally champion Nani Roma will be racing just for pride over the next two weeks.
Mechanical problems with his No. 300 Mini All4 machine in the opening kilometers of Sunday’s Stage 1 from Buenos Aires to Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina ruined his afternoon early on.
His assistance truck had to tow him the remainder of the 175km stage, and Roma was forced to stop again while heading toward the second checkpoint.
He eventually got going again but he passed the second checkpoint down 4 hours and 40 minutes to Al-Attiyah. Reduced speeds caused the gap to widen even further, and heading into Stage 2 tomorrow, Roma will be facing a surely insurmountable deficit of six hours, 26 minutes.
Al-Attiyah and today’s runner-up, Orlando Terranova, will now be counted on to lead the charge for Mini, which seeks its fourth consecutive win in the Dakar.
Coverage of the 2015 Dakar Rally starts Monday afternoon on NBCSN. Get your full Dakar TV schedule here.