Giniel second as Al-Attiyah battles

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IOL mot pic jan15 Dakar Cars S9 Nani Roma Reuters Reuters photographer Jacky Naegelen took a big chance to get this shot of Nani Roma splashing through a creek on Stage 9, but the results are spectacular.

Defending champion Stephane Peterhansel took a huge step towards his 11th Dakar Rally win on Monday as his main rival Nasser Al-Attiyah struggled during the ninth stage, the longest of the race.

Peterhansel's team mate Nani Roma won the stage - his second of this year's rally and 13th of his career - leading in a Mini 1-2 with 47-year-old Peterhansel - six times champion on a motorcycle and four times in a car - second and Argentinian Orlando Terranova third in a BMW.

Al-Attiyah, the 2011 winner, had to stop several times during the stage in his Red Bull Buggy - including one stop just four heartbreaking kilometres from the finish line - and saw his dreams of a second Dakar title dashed.

Peterhansel now has a comfortable lead of almost 50 minutes over his nearest rival, South African Giniel de Villiers in the works Toyota , who finished the marathon 852km stage fifth, less than 10 minutes behind Roma.

Peterhansel said afterwards: "We could have gained even more time, but we would have had to take risks.

"The title's getting closer but there are still a few long stages left that favour the buggies.

"We need to take time whenever we can, because we can always make mistakes in Fiambala or on the dunes of Copiapo." - AFP

RESULTS - STAGE 9

1 Nani Roma (Spain) Mini - 5hr 36min 28sec

2 Stephane Peterhansel (France) Mini +4min 11sec

3 Orlando Terranova (Argentina) BMW +6min54

4 Robby Gordon (United States) Hummer +8min37

5 Giniel De Villiers (South Africa) Toyota +9min39

6 Carlos Sousa (Portugal) GWM +10min23

7 Leonid Novitskiy (Russia) 11min20

8 Geoff Olholm (Australia) Toyota +20min23

9 Matthias Kahle (Germany) Sam-Mercedes +26min44

10 Lucio Alvarez (Argentina) Toyota +27min37

OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE 9

1 Stephane Peterhansel (France) Mini - 24hr 11min 43sec

2 Giniel De Villiers (South Africa) Toyota +49min 31sec

3 Leonid Novitskiy (Russia) Mini +56min03

4 Nani Roma (Spain) Mini +1hr 34min16sec

5 Orlando Terranova (Argentina) BMW +2hr 01min08

6 Carlos Sousa (Portugal) GWM +2hr 13min41

7 Ronan Chabot (France) SMG +2hr 35min22

8 Bernard Errandonea (Andorra) SMG +2hr 35min40

9 Pascal Thomasse (France) Buggy Md Rallye +3hr 03min32

10 Boris Garafulic (Chile) Mini +3hr 23min30



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