Valparaiso, Chile - Spanish driver Joan ‘Nani’ Roma has won the 2014 Dakar Rally, 10 years after he clinched the motorcycle title in the gruelling race.
Roma, 42, overturned a 26-second overnight deficit to his Mini team mate and 11-times champion Stephane Peterhansel to take victory.
Giniel de Villiers in the South African built and run Toyota Hilux V8 won the stage, the 13th and final timed section, over 157km from La Serena to Valparaiso, to cement his fourth postion overall, with Roma fourth on the day behind fellow Mini drivers Krzysztof Holowczyc and Vladimir Vasilyev.
Roma became only the third man to win the Dakar title on both two and four wheels after Peterhansel and Hubert Auriol.
His win came after a controversial two days.
BMW insisted on team orders which would have seen Roma, Peterhansel and 2011 champion Nasser Al-Attiyah complete a podium lockout for Mini - but Friday saw Roma suffer a puncture, allowing Peterhansel to retake the overall lead.
It was unclear in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's conclusion whether or not the Mini drivers had received new instructions.
Peterhansel, six times a champion on two wheels and five times on four, was 13th on Saturday and took second place overall, 5min 38sec behind his team mate.
Al-Attiyah, meanwhile, was left to rue the one-hour penalty he collected for missing waypoints on the 10th stage as he finished 56min 52sec behind Roma and third overall in another Mini.
“It's a dream come true.”
“I always had it in my head that I wanted to win in a car after winning the motorcycles,” said Roma, whose wife, Rosa Romero Font, competed in the motorcyclke section on a Yamaha but was forced to withdraw in Stage 5.
“I don't know if this is the greatest stress I have experienced, but it was very tough,” added Roma.
“The second week, with hard, long stages wasn't easy. But 10 years after winning on a motorcycle also on January 18, I have won in the cars.”
Peterhansel admitted it had been a frustrating end to the race.
“Let's look on the bright side. The car didn't miss a beat, it took anything we threw at it, like usual, and we had lots of fun driving,” he said.
“But I'm frustrated with the final result. The third thing I want to say is that Nani's my friend, and I'm pleased to see him happy.”
STORMING SOUTH AFRICANS
De Villiers’ team mate, Dakar rookie Leeroy Poulter put in a storming final leg to finish 12th, 7min41 behind De Villiers, and was classified 33rd overall, while privateer Thomas Rundle, in his first Dakar Rally attempt, brought the ex-Giniel de Villiers Toyota Hilux V8 home 18th, less than 15min after its previous driver to clinch his stated goal of a top-25 finish.
Argentinian Lucio Alvarez in the sole remaining South African-built and run Team Ford Ranger (who surely qualifies as an Honorary South African by now) finished 23rd on the final timed section to retain his 22nd postion overall.
Works KTM rider Marc Coma won the motorcycle title for the fourth time. The Dakar specialist avoided any misfortune on the final leg to add the 2014 title to his wins in 2006, 2009 and 2011.
Coma, who had lead of nearly two hours going into the final day, came in 18th.
Coma, 37, said: “It was an extreme course with some good moments and some hard times.
“Every time I have won this rally, I have said I will savour the moment as I don't know if I am going to win again.”
“This represents a lot of sacrifices.”
Jordi Viladoms, also on a KTM, finished second overall.
“I'm overwhelmed,” he said. “It's a big thing for me, especially after the year I went through. I'm over the moon with this result.”
Defending champion Cyril Despres had won the stage on his Yamaha but he was later penalised five minutes which dropped him to fifth for the day and promoted Honda’s Joan Barreda Bort to first on the stage.
Top South African rider Riaan van Niekerk (KTM), consistently running just outside the top 10 throughout the second weeek, had a diastrous final day and was classified 75th, 49minutes behind the leaders, but retained his 12th position overall.
The only other South African rider to finish, Brett Cummings (Honda) came in 35th on the tight and technical final stage and was classified 28th overall in his first Dakar Rally.
HOT AND DEADLY
The 36th edition of the Dakar Rally, which crossed Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, proved one of the toughest with temperatures soaring to 47 degrees at one stage.
It also witnessed the death of one competitor - Belgian motorcyclist Eric Palante - on the fifth stage between Chilecito and Tucuman, as well as two Argentinian reporters.
The Dakar Rally also proved a hit with fans as Argentinian estimated about a million spectators watched the start at Rosario, the birthplace of Che Guevara and Lionel Messi.
RESULTS - CARS: Stage 13
1 Giniel De Villiers (South Africa) Toyota - 1hr57min07
2 Krzysztof Holowczyc (Poland) Mini +23sec
3 Vladimir Vasilyev (Russia) Mini +41
4 Nani Roma (Spain) Mini +1min40
5 Orlando Terranova (Argentina) Mini +1min53
6 Christian Lavieille (France) Haval +2min57
7 Federico Villagra (Argentina) Mini +3min09
8 Martin Kaczmarski (Poland) Mini +4min45
9 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) Mini +4min51
10 Boris Garafulic (Chile) Mini +6min59
12 Leeroy Poulter (South Africa) Toyota +7min41
13 Stephane Peterhansel (France) Mini +7min44
22 Lucio Alvarez (Argentina) Ford +15hrs 55min43
26 Thomas Rundle (South Africa) Toyota +17hrs 36min31
RESULTS - CARS: Overall after Stage 13
1 Nani Roma (Spain) Mini - 50hrs 44min 58sec
2 Stephane Peterhansel (France) Mini +5min38
3 Nasser Al-Attiyah(Qatar) Mini +56min52
4 Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) Toyota +1hr 19min57
5 Orlando Terranova (Argentina) Mini +1hr 27min44
6 Krzysztof Holowczyc (Poland) Mini +3hrs 55min42
7 Marek Dabrowski (Poland) Toyota +5hrs 34min25
8 Christian Lavieille (France) Haval +5hrs 35min50
9 Martin Kaczmarski (Poland) Mini +6hrs 58min12
10 Vladimir Vasilyev (Russia) Mini +6hrs 59min34
33 Leeroy Poulter (South Africa) Toyota +26hrs 07min55
RESULTS - MOTORCYCLES: Stage 13
1 Joan Barreda Bort (Spain) Honda - 1hr 59min
2 Olivier Pain (France) Yamaha +40sec
3 Helder Rodrigues (Portugal) Honda +1min23
4 Juan Pedrero (Spain) Sherco +1min35
5 Cyril Despres (France) Yamaha +2min30
6 Jordi Viladoms (Spain) KTM +3min31
7 Michael Metge (France) Yamaha +4min08
8 Daniel Gouet (Chile) +4min17
9 Kuba Przygonski (Poland) KTM +5min16
8 David Casteu (France) KTM +7min20
18 Marc Coma (Spain) KTM - 10min53
35 Brett Cummings (South Africa) Honda +17min35
75 Riaan van Niekerk (South Africa) KTM +49min20
RESULTS - MOTORCYCLES: Overall after Stage 12
1 Marc Coma (Spain) KTM - 54hrs 50min53
2 Jordi Viladoms (Spain) KTM +52hrs 57min27
3 Olivier Pain (France) Yamaha +2hrs 00min03
4 Cyril Despres (France) Yamaha) +2hrs 00min38
5 Helder Rodrigues (Portugal) Honda +2hr 11min09
6 Kuba Przygonski (Poland) KTM +2hrs 31min46
7 Joan Barreda Bort (Spain) Honda +2hrs 54min01
8 Daniel Gouet (Chile) Honda +3hrs 10min34
9 Stefan Svitko (Slovakia) KTM +3hrs 50min10
10 David Casteu (France) KTM +3hrs 58min09
12 Riaan van Niekerk (South Africa) KTM +5hrs 33min38
28 Brett Cummings (South Africa) Honda +11hrs 35min14