Rider dies after Dakar rally crash

2012-01-02 10:14

Argentine bike rider Jorge Martinez Boero has died following a crash on the first day of the Dakar Rally.

Police officials said Martinez Boero died yesterday as he was being transported by helicopter to a hospital in Mar del Plata.

Details of the crash were not immediately available, but reports said he died from head and chest injuries.

The Dakar Rally – a 15-day race that stretches across South America from Argentina to Peru – began yesterday with racers embarking on the first leg from the Atlantic coastal city of Mar del Plata to Santa Rosa, Argentina. The race, considered one of the most dangerous in motor sports, ends on January 15 in Lima, Peru.

Martinez Boero (38) was participating in his second Dakar Rally.

The 57km stage was won by Francisco Lopez of Chile among the motorcycles and Leonid Novitskiy of Russia in the cars category.

Lopez, on an Aprilia, crossed the line in 32 minutes 37 seconds, 14 seconds ahead of defending champion Marc Coma of Spain (KTM).

Novitskiy finished the special stage in 32 minutes and 12 seconds in his Mini.

South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers (Toyota), winner of the 2009 Dakar Rally, came fourth – 15 seconds behind the leader.

Other South African drivers also fared well on the opening day, with Duncan Vos finishing 20th in the car category, and Mark Corbett and Francois Jordaan in 27th place.

However, Alfie Cox’s Dakar came to an end before he could even reach the finish of the special stage.

The former motorcycle rider had built an ambitious project with Team Pewano but he burnt the Volvo XC-60 he was racing in the Dakar for the first time.
The crew escaped the fire but the car was destroyed.

This is the fourth consecutive year the event is being held in South America. The rally was held in Africa until 2007 but moved for security reasons to South America in 2009. The race was not held in 2008.

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