Rider killed at Dakar
French motorcycle competitor Thomas Bourgin has been killed while riding to the start of the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in Chile.
Organisers released the following statement:
The accident took place at 08.23 hours local time on the link route on the way up to the Chilean side of the mountain range. The 25-year-old rider collided with a Chilean police car that was travelling in the opposite direction. The exact circumstances of the accident are being subjected to an inquiry.
The rally’s medical teams deployed on the ground were only able to certify the rider’s death, probably instant.
Thomas Bourgin, from Saint Etienne, where he was born on December 23rd 1987, was in 68th place in the overall ranking of his first Dakar. He had realised his passion since 2009 when he took part in the Morocco Rally, followed by a 4th place in the 2011 Africa Race and a 7th place finish in the Tunisia Rally.
The organisers of the Dakar and everyone involved in it express their great sadness to his family and friends and offer their most sincere condolences.
It is the third fatality on the event this year after two people were killed earlier in the event when a support vehicle was also involved in an accident on a road section.
The incident did not stop the day’s competition with Stéphane Peterhansel consolidating his lead in the car category on the 218km stage from Calama to Salta.
The high mountain stage was supposed to sap the turbo cars of power. However, all-wheel-drive more than made up for this in Peterhansel’s Mini who took his 61st stage win by only 39 seconds from rival Nasser Al Attiyah.
“It was a very long link stage at more than 4,000 metres above sea level,” said Peterhansel.
“But we got stuck into the special, just 218 kilometres and I have to admit that for the first 130 km, we were flat out. There was nothing to do, just 15 or 30 bends and we were driving at 150 km/h on average.
“After that, the last 90 km were interesting, rather twisty with some rocks, but very technical, so we were able to enjoy ourselves and gain a few seconds more over Nasser.”
Australia’s Geoff Olholm maintained his 15th position outright, Bruce Garland slipped from 41st to 44th overall, just one place ahead of Isuzu team-mate Adrian Di Lallo.
On two wheels the stage was won by Kurt Caselli, earning the US rider his first stage win in the Dakar. The very quick terrain was ideal for the KTM rider who is used to such events as the Baja 1000 in Mexico. Caselli is on a strong machine having inherited former Dakar champion Marc Coma’s bike after he withdrew prior to the event with injury.
As big a story as Caselli’s stage win was issues for defending champion Cyril Despres who had no 5th gear on his KTM. On the fast section this cost a lot of time and he now trails overall leader Olivier Pain by over 14 minutes.
“It’s good, I mean, today was easy,” said Caselli.
“It was just roads, there was no off-track or anything – pretty easy to follow.
“I’m learning the navigation better and I can understand it. This is my first Dakar so I’m just learning a lot.
“I didn’t have any idea what to expect when I first came here. It’s fun and I’m enjoying it. The race is great and the people are too.”
Australia’s Rod Faggotter continues to lead the Aussies in 17th place, Ben Grabham improved one place to be 21st, and Warren Strange is 35th
In the quad race Sebastian Palma took the stage win aboard his Can-Am. Marcos Patronelli is still comfortably out front with a 74 minutes lead.
Gerard de Rooy won the day’s stage in the trucks to head Eduard Nikolaev in a Kamaz by 22 minutes with the Tatra of Martin Kolomny in third. However, Iveco team-mate Hans Stacey retired from the event prior to today’s stage after sustaining heavy damage in rollover yesterday.
Day 7 Highlights
OVERALL RESULTS : End of Day 7
|1||Stephane Peterhansel / Jean Paul Cottret||Mini||
|2||Nasser Al-Attiyah / Lucas Cruz||Demon Jefferies Buggy||
|3||Giniel de Villiers / Dirk von Zitzewitz||Toyota HiLux||
|4||Leonid Novistkiy / Konstantin Zhiltskov||Mini||
|5||Guerlain Chicherit / Jean-Pierre Garcin||SMG Buggy||
|6||Ronan Chabot / Gilles Pillot||SMG Buggy||
|7||Juan (Nani) Roma / Michel Perin||Mini||
|8||Bernard Errandonea / Arnaud Debron||SMG Buggy||
|9||Orlando Terranova / Paulo Fiuza||BMW||
|10||Carlos Sousa / Miguel Ramalho||Great Wall||
|15||Geoff Olholm / Jonathan Auston||Toyota HiLux||
|44||Bruce Garland / Harry Suzuki||Isuzu D-Max||
|45||Adrian Di Lallo / Steve Riley||Isuzu D-Max||
|10||Jermias Israel Esquerre||Honda||
|4||Sarel van Biljon||E-ATV||