Dakar Rally tragedy as mechanic, 20, dies in accident

The Dakar Rally is considered one of motorsport's most dangerous events

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A French mechanic in the Dakar rally has died in an accident involving an assistance vehicle and a local truck in Saudi Arabia, the Dakar rally organisers said on Friday.

Rally organisers said the driver was French national Quentin Lavalee, who was driving a car belonging to the team PH Sport. His passenger, Belgian national Maxime Frere, was injured and was transported to hospital in Jeddah.

A statement confirmed the news: "This morning at 11:30, at km 234 of the service link route, there was an accident between an assistance vehicle and a local truck, as reported by local police.

X-Raid Orlen Team's Jakub Przygonski and co-driver Timo Gottschalk in action during stage 11
X-Raid Orlen Team's Jakub Przygonski and co-driver Timo Gottschalk in action during stage 11

"Unfortunately, the driver of the vehicle, Quentin Lavalée, a French national and member of the PH Spot team, has died as a result of the accident. He was 20 years old.

"The passenger who was traveling with him, Maxime Frère, a Belgian national, has been injured and has been consciously transferred to the National Guards Hospital in Jeddah where he is undergoing a complete revision.

"He has an abdominal and thoracic contusion."

The Dakar Rally began in 1978 as a race from Paris across the Sahara to the Senegalese capital but switched to South America in 2009 for security reasons.

One of motorsport's most dangerous and gruelling events, the rally moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020 and is now in its 44th edition.