Joan Roma has won the Dakar Rally heading home a MINI one-two-three on what is regarded as one of the toughest rally challenges in the world.

Roma finished just 5 minutes 32 seconds up on team-mate, Stephane Peterhansel, while Nasser Al-Attiyah took third.

It was Roma's second Dakar victory, although his previous success came back in 2004 on a motorbike when the event was still held in North Africa. The win was, however, not without controversy, given Peterhansel and Roma were both ordered to back off on Wednesday and ensure they got to the finish.

Related Articles

"I'm so relieved and happy," said Roma, who lost the lead on the penultimate day due to a puncture, but who regained it today when Peterhansel eased off as a result of the team orders.

"It was my big goal to win the Dakar not only on a motorbike but also in a car. A dream came true for me today and I want to thank everybody at X-raid and MINI for their great work!" he added.

Roma, who has been leading the overall classification at this year's event for nine days, winning two stages in total, continued: "The MINI ALL4 Racing is a brilliant car and was extremely reliable and quick throughout the whole rally. It was fun to drive!"

"Also a big thank you to my co-driver Michel P?rin, who was a great navigator again! A great result for MINI, now it's time to celebrate!" concluded the Monster Energy X-raid Team pilot.

The 2014 Dakar Rally took in a 9,374 km-long route that led off from Rosario in Argentina, then across the Andes and the challenging Atacama desert to Valpara?so in Chile at the Pacific coast. The drivers had to face a lot of different weather conditions and soils - including gravel in the Andes and a lot of extremely fine sand in the hot Atacama desert. MINI mastered all the challenges though, and won 11 of the 13 stages in total.

It was the third win in a row since MINI made its debut at the Dakar Rally in 2011 and all eleven MINIs that started the event finished, with five in the top-six and seven in the top-ten.

Red Bull KTM's Marc Coma meanwhile cruised to victory in the Bikes. It was his fourth success having also won in 2006, 2009 and 2011.