Spectator killed, four injured in Dakar Rally


The dead spectator was Sonia Gallardo, 28, doctor Norberto Brusa said in front of television cameras at a hospital in Cordoba. Her heart stopped twice during a helicopter flight from the accident scene, and she died of head and other injuries here Saturday.
A 24-year-old man was undergoing surgery for injuries sustained in the mishap, and a boy was taken to a children's hospital for treatment. Two other spectators suffered minor injuries.

Argentine media reports said that Schultis lost control of his car on a curve and careened into a group of dozens of people watching from the edge of the unfenced racecourse.
Later, Schultis reportedly quit the race, which began in earnest with Saturday's first stage from Colon to Cordoba, after a ceremonial drive on Friday from Buenos Aires by the 362 competitors driving in four race divisions: 134 cars, 52 trucks, 151 bikes and 25 quads.

The 14-stage, 9,000-kilometre event through Argentina and Chile, considered the toughest road race in the world, is slated to conclude Jan 17 in Buenos Aires. It is the 32nd Dakar Rally.

Televised images showed Schultis in apparent shock shortly after the accident. Witnesses said that he frantically tried to aid the victims and seemed to be deeply shaken.

A spokesman for rally organizers said the accident took place at a spot where spectators were not permitted. Schultis was not disqualified.

Local media said that the victims were watching the race from their own property.
In the car category, Juan "Nani" Roma of Spain, who won the Dakar motorcycle division in 2004, finished first in Saturday's stage at the wheel of a BMW X3 for the German X-Raid team, 2 minutes and seven seconds ahead of his closest pursuer.
David Casteu of France won the motorcycle stage riding his Sherco, just three seconds ahead of countryman Cyril Despres.

The first stage was shortened to 199 kilometres, due to flooding that made 52 kilometres of the course unpassable.

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