Nani Roma calls off Dakar 2023 effort

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Credit: Bahrain Raid Xtreme

Nani Roma had competed in every Dakar Rally since 1996. Unfortunately, that streak will end after twenty-six tries as he announced Thursday that he will not take part in the 2023 edition, citing a difficult timeframe for Bahrain Raid Xtreme to prepare an entry after recovering from his battle with bladder cancer.

Roma took a hiatus from racing in March, two months after the 2022 Dakar Rally, as he underwent treatment for his cancer. He was released from hospital in late June and began rehabilitation immediately after with physical training like cycling.

In a July interview with Catalan television programme Els matins, with his recovery in its closing stages, Roma was hopeful of returning to the driver’s seat in time for desert testing in September before entering the Rallye du Maroc on 1–6 October and Dakar 2023. As testing loomed, however, he offered a more grounded outlook of not expecting to race competitively unless he felt he was physically ready.

The test took place in mid-September with BRX, and he proclaimed he was “[v]ery happy to feel the wonderful sensation of running at full throttle on the tracks of Morocco!!” Despite a positive session, he was not included on the entry list for the Rallye du Maroc.

“I’m recovered, I feel good and in fact, I got back in the car with very good feelings in the past weeks,wrote Roma on social media“But for technical reasons, and due to the lack of time until the start of the race, participating is too complicated. As you know, it has not been an easy year, the surgeries and the difficult moments of the chemo have been quite a challenge, but in each adverse situation, the motivation to compete again helped me go forward because it is my life and for 27 years I have not I have missed an edition of the Dakar. So already thinking about the next season, I assure you that my Hunter and I will return to the races with all our enthusiasm in 2023! Thanks to everyone for your support!!! thanks to my sponsors for always being with me.”

With Roma out of the picture, BRX will still field entries for Sébastien Loeb and Orlando Terranova. The team has also formed a partnership to field Prodrive Hunters at the Rally for Guerlain Chicherit and Vaidota Žalas.

Roma is a two-time Dakar Rally champion, winning on a bike in 2004 and a car in 2014. He joined BRX in 2021 and finished fifth overall in his début with the team.

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