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French motorcyclist dies in Dakar Rally crash

posted 11 Jan 2013, 11:53 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 11 Jan 2013, 11:54 ]

LIMAPERU  (REUTERS) - Motorcyclist Thomas Bourgin died on Friday (January 11) in Chile as he was riding to the start of the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally.

From Saint Etienne, France, the 25-year-old was involved in a head on collision with a police car according to rally organisers.

The accident took place at 08.23 hours local time on a link route on the Chilean side of the Andes mountain range ahead of a stage from Calama to Salta in the South American country.

In a press release, rally organisers said the exact circumstances of the accident were subject to an inquiry.

Medical teams deployed on the ground were only able to certify the rider's death, with reports suggesting he died instantly.

Bourgin was in 68th place in the overall standings and was taking part in his first DakarRally.

He had been rally racing since 2009, when he took part in the Morocco Rally, and finished fourth in the 2011 Africa Race and seventh 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," the press release added.

Originally staged between French capital Paris and Dakar in Senegal, the rally has now claimed the lives of 26 competitors since 1979, while more than 30 spectators and support staff have been killed in a number of different accidents.

On Thursday (January 10), two Chileans died and a number of other people - including three Britons - were seriously injured when a support vehicle was involved in a collision with two taxis.