Nani Roma’s wild crash during Wednesday’s Stage 10 of the 2015 Dakar Rally has sent the reigning champion out of the event.
Roma’s fate had been up in the air for some time after he and co-driver Michel Perin reportedly hit a hole in the terrain that hadn’t been accounted for in their road book and then rolled their Mini at kilometer 193 of the 358km route from Calama, Chile to Salta, Argentina.
Roma and Perin eventually made it to the bivouac at 11:15 p.m. local time last night according to their team. But the duo and their machine were not allowed to start this morning for Stage 11 (Salta to Termas de Rio Hondo) – even though the team has indicated on Twitter that their car was ready to go after a long night of repairs:
For Roma, it’s the end of an altogether difficult Dakar.
The Spaniard’s chances of retaining his title were obliterated on Day 1 thanks to mechanical problems, and he was forced into a support role for the other Mini pilots.
Nonetheless, Roma and Perin bounced back and eventually bagged their first stage win of the Dakar in Tuesday’s Stage 9. But just one day later, their positive momentum came to a halt and now, their event is finished.
Another big name in the car category has also been knocked out of the fight as well. Yazeed Alrajhi had put on a tremendous showing in his inaugural Dakar to run third in the overall standings behind leaders Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giniel de Villiers.
But after major problems emerged with the exhaust system on his Toyota Hilux near the start of Thursday’s special, the confident Saudi had to give up his pursuit despite valiant efforts from crewmen to solve his car’s issues:
Before the setback, Alrajhi had collected a Stage 8 win and five podiums in the 2015 Dakar.
Finally, we now have word that Stage 9 quads winner Victor Gallegos has also had to abandon the event this morning. A broken engine is the reported cause.
Other notable withdrawals in recent days include those of stage winner Matthias Walkner and factory Honda rider Jeremias Israel in the bikes; the previously mentioned Ignacio Casale and Sergio Lafuente in the quads; and sports car veteran Romain Dumas in the cars.