DAK Joan Roma reaches Buenos Aires in 10th place

31ST DAKAR RALLY (January 3rd-January 18th, 2009)

Leg 14: Córdoba - Buenos Aires
Liaison, 224 km; special, 227 km; liaison, 341 km; total, 792 km.

Weather conditions: warm and sunny, 27-33 degrees Centigrade.

For immediate release
Saturday, January 17th, 2009


· One stage victory the highlight for Mitsubishi's new entry into diesel era
· Additional time penalties push Roma down to 10th position

BUENOS AIRES (Argentina): Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart's Joan 'Nani' Roma and Lucas Cruz Senra (both Spain) completed the final 227km special stage of the 2009 Dakar Rally, between Córdoba and Buenos Aires, in fourth position on Saturday morning.

But additional time penalties imposed by event officials on crews that had not completed the 12th leg into La Rioja on Thursday evening, ultimately demoted Roma from sixth to 10th overall. The Mitsubishi 'Racing Lancer' driver duly incurred 10 hours of time penalties.

From the original 530 starters, 129 bikes and quads, 92 cars and 55 trucks were permitted to start the final stage into Buenos Aires, but the ASO had been busy imposing further time penalties on some crews overnight, including Roma.

He was the first driver on to the fast, pampas-style special stage on Saturday morning, but it was not an advantage to open the road and he trailed Guerlain Chicherit (France) by 10 seconds at the first passage control point at 88km and held a virtual third on the stage. He slipped to fifth at the 140km point (PC2) and went on to record the fourth fastest time.

Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) set the fastest time on the final stage to confirm his first Dakar win, with an 8m 59s winning margin over Mark Miller (USA).

Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart had lost three of its four turbo-diesel 'Racing Lancers' earlier in the race. Hiroshi Masuoka (Japan) and Pascal Maimon (France) were sidelined with an engine pulley bolt failure, an illness for co-driver Gilles Picard (France) forced Luc Alphand (France) to retire the second car and engine-related problems forced Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret (both France) out of the rally on the stage before the crossing into Chile last week.

There will be no competitive action tomorrow (Saturday), but surviving crews will take part in the much-vaunted ceremonial finish at La Rural in downtown Buenos Aires. Over half a million people attended the ceremonial start on Friday, January 2nd and an even greater number are anticipated at the finish, such has been the interest shown by the local Argentinean and Chilean population in this year's Dakar Rally.

Overall positions on leg 14 (unofficial @ 12.00hrs):
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzevitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)   1h 35m 43s
2. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)  1h 35m 45s
3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara (T1.2)              1h 36m 00s
4. Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer       1h 36m 21s
5. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)  1h 36m 33s
6. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)        1h 42m 22s
7. René Kuipers (NL)/Filipe Palmeiro (P) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)                          1h 44m 45s

Overall positions after leg 14:
1. Giniel de Villiers (ZA)/Dirk von Zitzevitz (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)  48h 10m 57s
2. Mark Miller (USA)/Ralph Pitchford (ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)       48h 19m 56s
3. Robbie Gordon (USA)/Andy Grider (USA) Hummer (Open 1)             49h 57m 12s
4. Ivar Erik Tollefsen (N)/Quin Evans (GB) Nissan Navara (T1.2)            54h 15m 31s
5. Krzysztof Holowczyc (PL)/Jean-Marc Fortin (B) Nissan Navara (T1.2)              54h 48m 46s
6. Dieter Depping (D)/Timo Gottschalk (D) Volkswagen Race Touareg (T1.2)     56h 54m 26s
7. Miroslav Zapletal (CZ)/Tomas Ourednicek (CZ) Mitsubishi L200 (T1.2)           59h 14m 05s
8 Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Oleg Tyupenkin (RUS) BMW X3 CC (T1.2)           61h 26m 10s
9. Guerlain Chicherit (F)/Matthieu Baumel (F) BMW X3 CC  (T1.2)          63h 00m 46s
10. Joan 'Nani' Roma (E)/Lucas Cruz Senra (E) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer    65h 38m 43s

What they said?

Joan 'Nani' Roma
"I would like to have finished higher, but the important thing was to finish after the problem we had a few days ago. I have arrived in Buenos Aires and that is because the team behind me worked really, really hard. The car was perfect yesterday and today and is getting better all the time. The handling, the suspension, it is perfect.

"I know how much work goes into making four cars for the Dakar and, when I arrived in Valparaiso, I knew that there was only me running and it was up to me to keep the team going. No-one in the team lost any motivation and they all continued to push. Yesterday, I told myself that I needed to push, push, push to try and win the stage. I took some risks yesterday, but the stage win was for everyone in the team.

"Today was not easy. I exploded (puncture) a tyre on the back after CP1 and finished the stage much more slowly. It was important to reach Buenos Aires today. That was the goal."

Lucas Cruz Senra
"A good finish for us - top 10! For me, this event has been very hard. The temperatures have been very high and the weather has been very difficult. The car has great potential and will be superb when we have worked more on the development. I think it was too much to ask to come up with an answer after two weeks on the rally.

"Today was a straightforward stage. It was very fast. We had one puncture at about km100, but the rest was okay."

Live footage of the 2009 Dakar Rally can be seen on Eurosport at the following times:

18.05 hrs GMT - 18.30 hrs GMT
22.00 hrs GMT - 22.45 hrs GMT


Please visit:

and for further information, please contact:
TESHIMA Masatoshi: m.teshima@mitsubishi-motor-sports.com



Date issued: 17/01/2009

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