We’ve done what we have to do to win at Dakar: Spanish driver Roma

La Paz, Bolivia, Jan 9 (IANS) Spanish Toyota driver Nani Roma, ranked fourth in the general Dakar Rally classification a week into the race, said he and his team have “done what you have to do to win a Dakar.”

“We’ve been consistent every day. We haven’t made any mistakes, … and I think we’ve done a good job. I think that we’ve done what you have to do to win a Dakar, and that’s not to make mistakes and to be here every day,” Roma said on Sunday, reports Efe.

Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel, driving for Peugeot, is ahead in the competition with a time of 14:02:58, followed by his countrymen and teammates Sebastien Loeb, 1:09 minutes back, and Cyril Despres, 4:54 minutes behind the leader.

Roma is No. 4, 5:05 minutes behind Peterhansel, and in fifth place is Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen, driving for Mini, back by 42:21 minutes.

“In the third phase we ran out of fuel and lost about eight minutes that (would otherwise give us the lead). It was human error, but it is what it is and we have to keep going forward,” Roma said.

However, he went on to say that “Dakar is a marathon race” in that “many things can happen.”

“Obviously, you can’t think about winning it on the first day or the second. The important thing is to arrive each day and with the fewest problems. We all have our problems, things happen to us all, but the important thing is to have the fewest problems, to advance each day and each day for you to keep pushing forward,” he said.

The Toyota driver emphasised that his vehicle loses power at higher altitudes and that gives his Peugeot rivals an advantage in those phases.

“Their cars are very fast in the higher phases, they run very well, and we’ve been able to see that in recent days in Bolivia. We’re losing a lot at altitude … but now we’re going into Argentina where the altitude will be better and we’ll be more competitive, so we expect to be able to fight on an equal footing with them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the organisers have decided to cut the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally on Monday by half as heavy rain continued to cause havoc in the Bolivian section of the race.

–IANS

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