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Roma wins first Dakar

Published: 14 January 2004

Updated: 24 November 2014

Spaniard Joan 'Nani' Roma won the 26th Paris-Dakar rally yesterday (January 18) on a KTM LC4 taking the top spot by just 12 minutes over last year's winner Richard Sainct, also on a KTM LC4.

The final stage around the Lac Rose in Dakar was won by Frenchman Cyril Despres, riding a KTM LC4, while Roma took it easy, comfortable that he had already gained enough of a lead to take the overall win.

Roma's win was made even easier when Sainct, his only real rival, developed a problem with a battery connection. The problem was easily fixed but the short delay it caused was enough to put pay to any chance of him catching the Spaniard.

The rider that most impressed throughout the race was Yamaha's David Fretigne. This was his first Dakar and he was riding the 450cc two-wheel-drive Yamaha WR450 2-Trac, which is still in development.

He finished seventh overall - the only non-KTM rider in the top 27 - and won the 450cc super production class over two and a half hours ahead of KTM 450 EXC rider Matteo Graziani.

Fretigne crashed heavily on the last day after hitting a root, but he remounted his bike to finish sixth on the stage.

Stéphane Peterhansel won the car event for the first time in a car after previously taking the honours six times during the '90s while riding a bike for Yamaha France.

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