Tag Archives: Nani Roma

Global Rallycross Quickly Becoming a Race of Champions

The Race of Champions is one of motorsports’ most prestigious international events, pitting drivers from every corner of the world and every racing discipline against one another to determine who is the greatest driver of all; in that regard, it’s a lot like Global Rallycross.

But with the addition of Mattias Ekstrom to the field at X Games Munich, the two events share more than just similarities in scope.

“I would rank (GRC) on the same level as the Race of Champions, because it’s a similar event,” Ekstrom said. “But the competition is way better than it is in ROC because all of the drivers are specialists in their own cars.”

A total of nine current or former GRC drivers have been selected to appear at ROC events, with at least one future GRC driver making an appearance every year from 2001 to 2011. In 40 combined selections, they have taken nine Champion of Champions awards and been a part of three Nations’ Cup victories, while two Champion of Champions finals would feature future GRC competitors competing head to head.

Ekstrom brings three Champion of Champions titles to the table, having won in 2006, 2007, and 2009, and a Nations’ Cup from 2005 as a part of the Scandinavian team. He has been selected to compete in the event six times, most of any driver in the field at Munich; Tanner Foust ranks second with three selections, while Brian Deegan and Scott Speed have one apiece.

Though Travis Pastrana won’t be racing in Munich, the GRC owner/driver has been a staple of ROC events through the past decade. Pastrana boasts eight ROC selections, including seven in a row from 2005 to 2011, and competed for the Nations’ Cup on his own in 2006.

Three drivers to make race appearances last season have all taken home the Champion of Champions trophy. Marcus Gronholm, who won the first two GRC races of 2012, won the event in 2002, while defending X Games Los Angeles gold medalist Sebastien Loeb boasts victories from 2003, 2005, and 2008. Loeb also finished second in 2010 to Filipe Albuquerque, who raced at Texas last year as a teammate to Pastrana.

The full breakdown of driver statistics is below:

Current/Former GRC Drivers to Earn Race of Champions Selections

Current/Former GRC Drivers to Win Champion of Champions

Current/Former GRC Drivers to Appear in Champion of Champions Final

Current/Former GRC Drivers to Win Nations’ Cup

Photo credit: Simon Bradley

Global Rallycross X Games Barcelona: Saturday Recap

GRC TV: X Games Barcelona Saturday Recap

GRC TV’s Kate Osborne got the biggest stories from around the garage during Saturday’s prep day for the Global Rallycross race at X Games Barcelona. Steve Arpin talks about an important checklist for race day, Nani Roma discusses racing in front of his hometown fans, and Liam Doran reveals a brand-new car for this weekend.

Meet Nani Roma, Driver, All4 Racing

Nani Roma has a luxury that few other Global Rallycross drivers can claim: making his debut not far from his hometown.

Roma, from the village of Folgueroles, has spent the majority of his career focusing on the Dakar Rally and other rally raid events. But when X Games came to Barcelona, he jumped into the event head first: not only will he be racing a car in the event, he was also involved in the event’s organizing committee.

In preparation for Sunday’s race, Roma talked about his background, testing his MINI, and racing in front of the local fans:

For the American fans who might not know about you, who are you and what is your racing background?

My name is Nani Roma, I am Catalan. I race in the desert—I started in 1991 to race enduro, and after I started Dakar in 1996 to race motorcycles. In 2004 I won the Dakar on a motorcycle, after that I jumped to cars on team Mitsubishi. I finished third overall in 2006. After Mitsubishi I jumped to MINI BMW, I finished second in 2012 and last year I finished fourth. Now I try to win the Dakar in cars, only two people in the history of Dakar have won car and bikes, Hubert Auriol and Stephane Peterhansel, so now my focus is to win by car. My racing is some rallies in Spain, World Rally cars in Spain, but mostly in the desert.

You’ve already accomplished a lot in your career. Where did your interest in racing originally come from?

Before I started racing motorcycles I played football. Spain is a really big country for football, and I played that until I was 18 years old, after that I changed to bike. In my area, it’s a lot of races, the World Rally Championship is there, and when I was young I followed a lot of the races, I’m really passionate for motorsport. But my family didn’t have a tradition of that, and I started so late in racing, but was fast too. I take the good results—I won in Spanish enduro racing and of course Dakar. But at first my passion is football.

You race a MINI over at Dakar, and you’ve brought a MINI here to X Games Barcelona. How are those cars different? Do you have to drive them differently?

This car isn’t the same car I drive in Africa, that car is the big one. This is the car I use in Europe in the rallies I use in Spain. I need to adapt the rules from rallycross. I need to make more power, change the restrictor, the setting of the car I need to adapt. But I don’t know exactly what is the best car for this condition, never have I driven something like that where there’s guys around me making contact with me. I don’t know. I try to make it my best and find the easy car to drive, but we will see.

A few weeks ago you shook the car down at the Montalegre circuit in Portugal. Are you comfortable with it? Were you able to learn from that track?

Yeah, the only difference in Portugal is I had more restrictor like in the Spanish championship. I didn’t use the big restrictor. But in Portugal, it’s a big difference of the type of track, and here in the stadium. In this place, you need to really power from the start, the 300 meter start line, and you need the horsepower. But from the other side, with more torque, I feel good with the car.

With only one day of track time, Sunday, have you done any other testing this week? Does having everything on one day help or hurt you?

I tested the car three days ago at a track in Barcelona, but it’s different than here. I didn’t test, for example, the jump. And always it’s difficult, racing in one place, to make only a few laps to test, maybe four, five, six laps to test? Then after, we’re racing. But for everybody it’s the same. And I need to also look at that, adapt fast to the new situation. For me, it’s not bad. I think racing in the desert, it’s improvisation, and maybe for me it’s better like that when not everybody knows it perfect. But I think that for me, the focus is to try and enjoy the great moment in Barcelona, in my town with my friends and the fans. It’s nice really to be here.

Do you have any goals or expectations for Sunday’s event? Is there any pressure from being the hometown driver?

From my racing in the desert when I started to win, you feel a little bit of pressure when you like to win. But here, no, it’s a race to enjoy the moment and enjoy the spectacle, enjoy the fans. To stay with the fast guys is my goal.

Photo credit: Alison Merion Padron


By The Numbers: Barcelona Entry List Boasts Numerous Accolades

Global Rallycross frequently boasts one of the most versatile and talented driver bases in all of motorsport, and Sunday’s event at X Games Barcelona is no exception. The 17 entrants have appeared in nearly every major racing series on the planet, taking home dozens of accolades in the process. Here’s a look at just what they’ve accomplished:

Photo credit: Alison Merion Padron


2004 Dakar Rally Winner Nani Roma To Compete in Barcelona

Global Rallycross continues to attract some of the finest race drivers in the world to compete in its events, drivers whose successes range from stage rally to Formula 1. In Barcelona, the series will diversify even further when Nani Roma, the 2004 Dakar Rally champion, joins the lineup.

He will bring the same car that he uses to compete in Rally Raid events, a Mini prepared by All4 Racing. The same style of vehicle has won the past two Dakar events.

“The X Games are a global event, which are followed across the world,” said Roma. “It’s a brutal event that is very special to motorsport fans.”

Roma has competed in numerous raid events over the past decade and a half, with a special focus on Dakar. He started his career on motorcycles before making his debut in a car in 2005. In 2012, he scored his best career finish in a car, placing second overall.

Earlier this year, Roma followed up four stage victories and a fourth place finish at Dakar with a win in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. Besides his rally raid commitments, the Barcelona native is also a member of the organizing committee of the first X Games event in his home town.