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Dakar Rally Overshadowed By Palante Death

posted 10 Jan 2014, 12:20 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 10 Jan 2014, 12:20 ]

Belgian Eric Palante dies during Dakar Rally, Marc Coma overall leader, Nani Roma heads car field

TUCUMAN TO SALTAARGENTINA (JANUARY 10, 2014) (ASO) -  Belgian motorcycle rider Eric Palante has died during the Dakar Rally in Argentina, race organisers said in a statement on Friday (January 10).

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They said the 50-year-old's body was found by officials at around 0830 local time at the 143km mark of the fifth stage between Chilecito and San Miguel de Tucuman in the north of the country.

A local judge was looking into the circumstances of the Belgian's death. Organisers said they had received no alert from the rider, who had water with him.

Palante was competing in his 11th Dakar in the amateur category.

"He knew the race very well, and over the years his enthusiastic but serious approach had made him one of the pillars of the event," the statement said.

The Dakar Rally runs through ArgentinaBolivia and Chile with the finish in Valparaiso on Jan. 18.

It is now in its sixth year in South America after starting out as a gruelling and frequently fatal race fromParis across the Sahara to the Senegalese capital Dakar.

Friday saw competitors complete stage six of the rally, between Tucuman and Salta.

Alain Duclos took the honours on the bikes, winning the stage in four hours 21 minutes 34 seconds.Marc Coma was second, one minute and 15 seconds behind.

Stephane Peterhansel won the car stage in two hours 42 minutes and 58 seconds, fellow mini driverOrlando Terranova was second, two minutes and 43 seconds behind.

Marc Coma is the overall leader on the bikes, 42 minutes and 17 seconds ahead of Joan Barreda Bort. Duclos is more than an hour behind.

Nani Roma is the overall car leader with a 30 minute 30 second cushion over Orlando Terranova, with Peterhanself a further two minutes 53 seconds behind.