Spain’s Roma says he’s pleased with Dakar Rally performance thus far

Spain's Roma says he's pleased with Dakar Rally performance thus far 

Spanish driver Nani Roma of the X-Raid Team competes during the fourth stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally between Arequipa and Tacna, Peru, on Jan. 10, 2019. EPA-EFE/Ernesto Arias

Tacna, Peru, Jan 10 (efe-epa).- Spanish driver Joan «Nani» Roma said Thursday after he and co-driver Alex Haro Bravo moved up to third in the Dakar Rally cars division that he is pleased with their performance thus far.

Roma said he was glad to arrive with the car in good condition at the end of Stage 4, a marathon stage in which assistance crews are not allowed to repair vehicles in the bivouac (service area).

Roma (X-Raid Team) posted the fourth best time of Thursday’s 405-kilometer (251-mile) special (timed portion); on Friday, the competitors will cover the same route in reverse (Tacna to Arequipa) before having a rest day on Saturday.

«Tomorrow’s another long stage, the two-time Dakar winner (2004 and 2014) said.

Roma, however, is 20 minutes and 51 seconds behind the leader, Qatar’s Nasser al-Attiyah (Toyota Gazoo Racing), and nearly 12 minutes behind second-placed Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel (X-Raid Mini JCW Team)

In the bikes division, American Ricky Brabec (Honda) was the story of the day on Thursday, wresting first place in the general classification from Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) and giving the Japanese brand new hope after Spaniard Joan Barreda’s early exit from the race on Wednesday.

Quintanilla is just 2:19 behind Brabec, while Australian KTM rider Toby Price is third, only 4:22 back.

KTM has thoroughly dominated the bikes division for nearly two decades, winning every Dakar Rally held since 2001.

The 2019 Dakar Rally, which is being held exclusively in Peru, will conclude on Jan. 17.