January 08, 2014
The Monster Energy X-Raid team had another awesome day in this year’s Dakar Rally, but there was some bad luck for Stéphane Peterhansel.

After the first two stages, where the drivers took on the rocks and the sand, Stephane was leading overall by 28 seconds and looking good early on.

Day three was all about scaling the mountains of the Pre-Andes and the Aconcagua Volcano, and ‘Mr Dakar’ had a tough day with no fewer than six separate punctures - setting him back hugely.

With Stephane’s bad luck it presented an opportunity for the rest of the field to take advantage and the man who did that was team-mate Nani Roma, who stormed to an awesome stage victory.

Nani and co-driver Michel Perin were imperious across the mountains and hardly put a wheel wrong, giving them the win by a minute and seven seconds over fellow X-Raid duo Krzysztof Holowczyc and Konstantin Zhilstov.

Krzysztof recovered from a tough day two to hit back with an impressive second place which drags them back up into the top 10 of the overall rankings. Just behind Nani and Krzysztof was Stage One runner-up Orly Terranova, who takes his place in second overall with a fourth-place finish today.

It was almost 600km of mountain driving and one of the main dangers for the drivers was the road surface, as Stephane found out to his cost when he was the first car to hit the vegetation and debris in the road.

We had a chat with race leader Nani Roma to find out just how tough the day was; “It was a strange stage, because it wasn’t the longest but it was different. It was hard, you had to keep the concentration to avoid things that might give you a puncture.

“A lot of the other teams and drivers had some problems, a lot of punctures and things like that. We tried to drive and not make mistakes, that is the philosophy of the race you know - but it is not easy. You had to drive fast but stay concentrated.”

Stage Four is set to be the longest special stage since 2005 and the drivers will face all sorts of challenges. They’ll go through rivers and canyons and with the wide-open terrain, there will be big chances for cars to make some passing moves.

Overall rankings after Stage Three

1 - Roma/Perin 09:20:13
2 - Terranova/Fiuza 09:29:19
3 - Al Attiyah/Cruz 09:30:13
4 - Sainz/Gottschalk 09:32:15
5 - Peterhansel/Cottret 09:44:21
6 - De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz 09:46:36
7 - Lavieille/Garcin 09:51:36
8 - Holowczyc/Zhilstov 09:54:09

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