Spectator Killed During Seventh Stage of Dakar Rally

First Spectator Fatality Since 2013

Officials with the Dakar (shown here in archived photos from previous years) have confirmed that a spectator was killed in an accident during the rally’s seventh stage. Representatives from the event stated the Mitsubishi Lancer driven by racer Lionel Baud struck and killed a 63-year-old man who was isolated on the racecourse, according to Motorsport.com. The accident occurred in a remote area of Bolivia.

Medical professionals were immediately dispatched to the site of the accident but were unable to do anything but note the death of the person. According to Fox Sports, the stage was dominated by high winds and heavy rain, which likely contributed in some amount to the accident. Storms have caused myriad problems in this year’s event, requiring stage cancellations, delays, and other issues.

It also wasn’t the first spectator collision of the 2016 Dakar Rally. Last week, during the event’s prologue stages, the Mini Countryman piloted by Guo Meiling and Min Liao hit a group of spectators, sending three to the hospital with serious or critical injuries and harming another seven. However, this year’s fatality was the first of a spectator since 2013. The 2014 and 2015 events had a few collisions but no bystander fatalities.

Dakar has long been recognized as one of the most dangerous endurance races in history. The event was relocated from France and North Africa to South America to circumvent the former route’s vehicle-landmine events and political instability, but even so, deaths on the Dakar are not uncommon.