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Roma wins stage nine of Dakar Rally while Peterhansel pulls clear

Nani Roma X-raid Mini 2013 Dakar Rally

Nani Roma went fastest on the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally while his X-raid Mini team-mate Stephane Peterhansel opened up a big lead as chief rival Nasser Al-Attiyah retired.

While Peterhansel was able to set the second-best time on the 368-mile run from Tucuman to Cordoba in Argentina, Al-Attiyah's day consistently got worse.

After losing around seven minutes to Peterhansel during the opening half of the stage, the Qatari's Red Bull buggy ground to a halt several times during the final 20 miles with a suspected engine problem.

Al-Attiyah was withdrawn from the event overnight, joining his team-mate Carlos Sainz on the growing list of retirements.

Peterhansel's lead was therefore increased from 3m14s over Al-Attiyah to a far more comfortable 49m31s over Giniel de Villiers, who was fifth fastest on the day in his Imperial Toyota Hilux.

Al-Attiyah's problems, which came three days after his team-mate Carlos Sainz was forced out of the event, moved Leonid Novitskiy in the second X-raid car into third.

Roma, who began the day seventh, is now fourth following his second fastest time of the 2013 event.

Among the standout performers of the day were Orlando Terranova in one of X-raid's old-spec BMWs and Robby Gordon in his self-run Hummer. The pair were third and fourth on the stage with Terranova now fifth overall and Gordon continuing his fightback from 23rd.

Former fifth-placed man Guerlain Chicherit lost over 90 minutes of his own thanks to problems in his SMG buggy. He now lies 15th provisionally.

AUTOSPORT Dakar blogs:

Race2Recovery: A different kind of battle
AUTOSPORT's Sam Tremayne with X-raid

Leading positions after stage nine:

Pos  Driver                Team/Car            Time/Gap
 1.  Stephane Peterhansel  X-raid Mini        24h11m43s
 2.  Giniel de Villiers    Imperial Toyota     + 49m31s
 3.  Leonid Novitskiy      X-raid Mini         + 56m03s
 4.  Nani Roma             X-raid Mini       + 1h34m16s
 5.  Orlando Terranova     X-raid BMW        + 2h01m08s
 6.  Carlos Sousa          Great Wall        + 2h13m41s
 7.  Guerlain Chicherit    SMG Buggy         + 2h33m52s
 8.  Ronan Chabot          SMG Buggy         + 2h35m22s
 9.  Bernard Errandonea    SMG Buggy         + 2h35m40s
10.  Pascal Thomasse       MD Buggy          + 3h02m32s

Stage nine times:

Pos  Driver                Team/Car            Time/Gap
 1.  Nani Roma             X-raid Mini         5h36m28s
 2.  Stephane Peterhansel  X-raid Mini          + 4m11s
 3.  Orlando Terranova     X-raid BMW           + 6m54s
 4.  Robby Gordon          Gordon Hummer        + 8m37s
 5.  Giniel de Villiers    Imperial Toyota      + 9m39s
 6.  Carlos Sousa          Great Wall          + 10m23s
 7.  Leonid Novitskiy      X-raid Mini         + 11m20s
 8.  Geoffrey Oldholm      Cairns Toyota       + 20m23s
 9.  Mathias Kahle         Sam-Mercedes        + 26m44s
10.  Lucio Alvarez         Overdrive Toyota    + 27m37s
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