- Roma second, Przygonski fourth
- Final leg tomorrow
The Dakar is on the finishing straight and today’s ninth leg around Pisco really shook up the overall standings again. Joan Nani Roma and Alex Haro (both ESP) finished as runners-up on the penultimate stage and are now back in second place overall. Jakub Kuba Przygonski (POL) and Tom Colsoul (BEL) were fourth fastest today. Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA) and Timo Gottschalk (GER) came home seventh, while Boris Garafulic (CHI) and Filipe Palmeiro (POR) were 14th
on stage nine. Orlando Terranova and Bernardo Ronnie Graue (both ARG) claimed their third stage win in the half-marathon category.
After his early retirement from last year’s rally, Roma now has one hand on a podium finish in this year’s event. “This Dakar is one of the toughest I have ever experienced. Every kilometre is a challenge,” said the Catalan. “We had a puncture in the sand at around the 38-kilometre mark. Otherwise, we just tried to remain focussed and get through the stage calmly. The team is doing a great job and the MINI is superb to drive. It is now up to us to get through tomorrow in one piece.”
Przygonski was focussing on what lay ahead of him today, not only in the car, but also in the overall standings. With one day of the rally remaining, he now finds himself in fourth place. “In my opinion, that was the toughest stage so far, with roughly 70 percent in the dunes,” said the Pole. “The soft sand made them very difficult to get over. At times it took us several attempts. We were in attack mode today, looking to climb up the overall standings. Unfortunately, we got stuck ten kilometres from the finish and lost about twelve minutes as a result. But we made it, and that was by no means a given today. Tomorrow is the final leg and we want to push hard again.”
Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk are a ‘safe’ seventh overall and took it easy today – with the exception of one brief moment. “We got stuck right at the start and first had to free ourselves. After that, we took it a bit easier. The stage was very difficult for the drivers and navigation was not easy at one point. However, we did not lose too much time.”
The 2019 Dakar bows out tomorrow with the final stage from Pisco back to the start city of Lima. The competitors must first complete a 112-kilometre loop around the bivouac in Pisco. They then head into the Peruvian capital, where the podium ceremony will also take place.