Silk Way Rally: Nani Roma gives Minis a big win

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By Everton Gayle
Silk Way Rally: Nani Roma gives Minis a big win

The Mini John Cooper Works team came out on top on day five of the Silk Way Rally.

Nani Roma won the 537km stage from Astrakhan to Volgograd, his first ever victory in the event.

The Spaniard set a brisk pace and was unrivalled on the stage.

A good day at the office

A delighted Roma said: "In the end it was a good day for us. A hard stage but the car worked really well. 

"In the beginning again I didn’t feel really well but kilometre by kilometre I felt much better and now I’m happy to here and happy to win the stage. 

Just two  days to go now and the goal is to try my best and test the car."

Nasser Al Attiyah tried to pressure the Minis by doing what he does best - going flat out.

But once again mechanical issues cost the Saudi driver precious time. He is still third overall,

13 minutes behind Matthieu Serradori. Attiyah still has eyes on second place.

Yazeed Al Rajhi consolidated the overall lead over his rivals who struggled on the stage.

Al Rahji lost 20 minutes but still has an hour buffer zone to his nearest rival.

No problem

Al Rajhi said: "We are happy, no problems with the car. Today we didn’t go crazy, tried to stay safe. The first part of the stage was bumpy, very tough. The middle was fast and then the last 80 kilometres a lot of water, very muddy"

There was drama in the trucks section. Engine issues cost Rally Leader Dmitry Sontikov 25 minutes on the stage but he held on to overall lead by 44 seconds.

Andrey Karginov took another stage win, and for about an hour had also taken rally lead.

But a six- minute penalty for speeding in a control zone put paid to his hopes of victory.

Eduard Nikolaev also received a penalty for the same reasons.

So in the end it was Anton Shibalov who took the day’s stage.