Roma wins stage nine of Dakar Rally while Peterhansel pulls clear
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Al-Attiyah was withdrawn from the event overnight, joining his team-mate Carlos Sainz on the growing list of retirements.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:
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
Dakar Rally: Peterhansel keeps advantage over Al-Attiyah
Dakar: Orlando Terranova sets pace as Stephane Peterhansel cruises