Roma 4th despite overheating problem

~ Mitsubishi’s Roma Maintains Stranglehold On Fourth Overall In Dakar Rally ~

Roma 7th fastest in 9th special stage Ninth Dakar special heads into the daunting Atacama desert Time lost following overheating problemsCOPIAPÓ (Chile): Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart’s Joan ‘Nani’ Roma and Lucas Cruz Senra (both Spain) maintained their stranglehold on fourth overall in the 2009 Dakar Rally, after setting the seventh fastest time on the ninth special stage across the southern extremities of the Atacama desert in Chile on Monday.

Roma and Senra were the sixth quickest crew into the first PC at 131km, as the special stage from La Serena to Copiapó wound its way north through the first competitive kilometers of the Atacama desert, the highest and driest region in the world, surrounded to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Andes mountains.

They dropped 17 minutes to overall stage leader Mark Miller (USA) at PC1 after early navigation problems, but maintained a top pace through the second, third and fourth passage controls. The Spaniards eventually reached the finish in seventh position after clawing a little time back through the middle reaches of the special, only to lose it again with an overheating problem in the dunes.

Carlos Sainz sets fastest timeOverall leader Carlos Sainz (Spain) ultimately set the fastest time, after Miller was forced to stop and change a tire before the fifth passage control, and extended his lead in the general classification to 19m 52s.

Teams had left the bivouac in La Serena in cool, misty conditions – an effect caused by cold air from the ocean colliding with the warm air of the desert – and it caused some small logistical delays for the ASO.

The stage had been shortened by 19km in any case at the previous evening’s drivers’ briefing and the lost kilometers were added to the final liaison section to the bivouac, situated in a natural bowl in the Atacama desert, surrounded by sandy peaks and rolling dunes.

Tuesday sees competitors tackle longest stageTomorrow (Tuesday) service vehicles and event officials will remain at the Copiapó bivouac, while competitors tackle the longest stage of the entire event – a punishing 666km classic loop around the Atacama desert taking in a series of high dunes at altitude in extreme temperatures.

The stage will finish at the Copiapó bivouac and includes seven passage controls ina gruelling loop through the dunes and sand trails of the upper Atacama.

Roma found that it was not such a good day

What they said?Dominique Serieys, team director‘Nani’ and Lucas lost some time at the beginning and the end of the stage. They had a navigation problem near the start and a little overheating scare after 200km. It was not easy to pass the dunes. We are learning all the time. Let’s see what happens over the next two or three days to see if we are still in the fight and what happens.”

Joan ‘Nani’ Roma“It was not such a good day for us. At the beginning of the stage we made a navigation mistake. We were behind (Giniel) de Villiers in one wadi in the dust and we did not see a junction and went the wrong way. Then, at km 200, the engine temperature began to climb and we stopped too many times to try and make sure we reached the finish. Everybody will try and find the problem now. Tomorrow is another day and we will take each day as it comes.”

Lucas Cruz Senra“Giniel started very fast but, at km 45, we made a small error and missed one junction and took the wrong valley. We turned around and found our way again behind (Robbie) Gordon. He was doing ‘the same job’ and we stayed behind his dust trail.’’

SS9 CLASSIFICATIONPos/ Driver/Co-Driver/ Nat/ Vehicle/ Cat/ Total/Time/ Diff Leader1 Carlos SAINZMichel PERIN EF VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREG T1.2 5:56:08 **:**2 Mark MILLERRalph PITCHFORD USAAFS VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREG T1.2 5:57:55 +1:473 Robby GORDONAndy GRIDER USAUSA HUMMER H3 OP1 5:58:24 +2:164 Orlando TERRANOVAAlain GUEHENNEC RAF BMW X3 CC T1.2 6:06:14 +10:065 Giniel DE VILLIERSDirk VON ZITZEWITZ AFSD VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREG T1.2 6:08:09 +12:016 Leonid NOVITSKIYOleg TYUPENKIN RUSRUS BMW X3 CC T1.2 6:12:23 +16:157 Joan ROMALucas CRUZ EE MITSUBISHI RACING LANCER T1.2 6:20:49 +24:418 Krzysztof HOLOWCZYCJean-Marc FORTIN POLB NISSAN NAVARA T1.1 6:22:56 +26:489 Ivar Erik TOLLEFSENQuin EVANS NGB NISSAN NAVARA T1.1 6:35:55 +39:4710 Bernard ERRANDONEAJean-Pierre GARCIN FF SMG V8 BUGGY T1.3 6:49:06 +52:5811 Pascal THOMASSEPascal LARROQUE FF BUGGY  T1.3 6:58:04 +1:01:5612 Rene KUIPERSFilipe PALMEIRO NLP BMW X3 CC T1.2 6:59:48 +1:03:4013 Tonnie VAN DEIJNEWouter ROSEGAAR NLNL MITSUBISHI L200 T1.1 7:03:01 +1:06:5314 Matthias KAHLEThomas SCHUENEMANN DD HONDA BUGGY T1.3 7:09:40 +1:13:3215 Yaroslav SOLOVIEVKonstantin ZHILTSOV RUSRUS SMG V8 BUGGY T1.3 7:09:41 +1:13:3316 Miroslav ZAPLETALTomas OUREDNICEK CZCZ MITSUBISHI L200 T1.1 7:12:34 +1:16:2617 Laszlo PALIKGabor DARAZSI HONHON NISSAN NAVARA T1.1 7:14:32 +1:18:2418 Bob GORDONWillaim HIGMAN USAUSA HUMMER H3 OP1 7:21:53 +1:25:4519 Alfie COXJurgen SCHRODER AFSD SMG PORSCHE BUGGY T1.3 7:27:56 +1:31:4820 Erik VAN LOONMarc WAMS NLNL VOLKSWAGEN BUGGY HRT TDI T1.4 7:29:43 +1:33:35../24 Francisco INOCENCIOPaulo FIUZA PP MITSUBISHI PAJERO T1.2 7:45:17 +1:49:0934 Mana PORNSIRICHERDThierry LACAMBRE THAF MITSUBISHI PAJERO T1.2 8:11:29 +2:15:21

AND=ANDORA / RA=ARGENTINA / AUS=AUSTRALIA / B=BELGIUM / BRA=BRAZILBLR=BULGARIA / CHL=CHILE / CHI=CHINA / CZ=CZECH REPUBLIC / F=FRANCED=GERMANY / GB=GREAT BRITAIN / HON=HUNGARY / ISR=ISRAEL / I=ITALYJ=JAPAN / LVA=LATVIA / LTU=LITHUANIA / NL=NETHERLANDS / N=NORWAYPOL=POLAND / P=PORTUGAL / QAT=QATAR / RUS=RUSSIA / AFS=SOUTH AFRICAE=SPAIN / S=SWEDEN / THA=THAILAND / UKR=UKRAINE / USA=UNITED STATES OF AMERICAROU=URUGUAY

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SS9Pos DriverCo-Driver Nat Vehicle Cat TotalTime DiffLeader1 Carlos SAINZMichel PERIN EF VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREG T1.2 33:26:07 **:**2 Mark MILLERRalph PITCHFORD USAAFS VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREG T1.2 33:45:59 +19:523 Giniel DE VILLIERSDirk VON ZITZEWITZ AFSD VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREG T1.2 33:49:05 +22:584 Joan ROMALucas CRUZ EE MITSUBISHI RACING LANCER T1.2 34:24:19 +58:125 Robby GORDONAndy GRIDER USAUSA HUMMER H3 OP1 35:00:24 +1:34:176 Krzysztof HOLOWCZYCJean-Marc FORTIN POLB NISSAN NAVARA T1.1 36:50:00 +3:23:537 Ivar Erik TOLLEFSENQuin EVANS NGB NISSAN NAVARA T1.1 37:31:26 +4:05:198 Orlando TERRANOVAAlain GUEHENNEC RAF BMW X3 CC T1.2 39:30:54 +6:04:479 Rene KUIPERSFilipe PALMEIRO NLP BMW X3 CC T1.2 40:03:30 +6:37:2310 Dieter DEPPINGTimo GOTTSCHALK DD VOLKSWAGEN RACE TOUAREG T1.2 40:06:06 +6:39:5911 Tonnie VAN DEIJNEWouter ROSEGAAR NLNL MITSUBISHI L200 T1.1 40:30:49 +7:04:4212 Laszlo PALIKGabor DARAZSI HONHON NISSAN NAVARA T1.1 41:30:05 +8:03:5813 Miroslav ZAPLETALTomas OUREDNICEK CZCZ MITSUBISHI L200 T1.1 41:41:30 +8:15:2314 Leonid NOVITSKIYOleg TYUPENKIN RUSRUS BMW X3 CC T1.2 45:39:36 +12:13:2915 Patrick SIREY JOLPaul VIDAL FF BOWLER WILDCAT T1.1 46:20:04 +12:53:5716 Guerlain CHICHERITMatthieu BAUMEL FF BMW X3 CC T1.2 46:45:46 +13:19:3917 Nicolas GIBONAkira MIURA FJ TOYOTA VDJ 200 T2.2 47:15:45 +13:49:3818 Bruce GARLANDHiroaki SUZUKI AUSAUS ISUZU D-MAX T1.2 47:19:27 +13:53:2019 Matthias KAHLEThomas SCHUENEMANN DD HONDA BUGGY T1.3 47:53:46 +14:27:3920 Xavier FOJJoan PUJOLAR EE TOYOTA LAND CRUISER T2.2 48:25:25 +14:59:18

26 Jean DE AZEVEDOYoussef HADDAD BRABRA MITSUBISHI PAJERO T1.1 54:45:44 +21:19:3729 Francisco INOCENCIOPaulo FIUZA PP MITSUBISHI PAJERO T1.2 67:50:34 +34:24:2734 Mana PORNSIRICHERDThierry LACAMBRE THAF MITSUBISHI PAJERO T1.2 81:06:14 +47:40:07

AND=ANDORA / RA=ARGENTINA / AUS=AUSTRALIA / B=BELGIUM / BRA=BRAZILBLR=BULGARIA / CHL=CHILE / CHI=CHINA / CZ=CZECH REPUBLIC / F=FRANCED=GERMANY / GB=GREAT BRITAIN / HON=HUNGARY / ISR=ISRAEL / I=ITALYJ=JAPAN / LVA=LATVIA / LTU=LITHUANIA / NL=NETHERLANDS / N=NORWAYPOL=POLAND / P=PORTUGAL / QAT=QATAR / RUS=RUSSIA / AFS=SOUTH AFRICAE=SPAIN / S=SWEDEN / THA=THAILAND / UKR=UKRAINE / USA=UNITED STATES OF AMERICAROU=URUGUAY