Rally Dakar spectator dies after fatal collision with Czech driver's vehicle

Driver Aleš Loprais confirmed on social media that the death was connected with his truck.


Written by ČTK Published on 11.01.2023 10:30:00 (updated on 11.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

UPDATE: On Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. Dakar Rally confirmed that Aleš Loprais will withdraw from today's race. Loprais has reported to the authorities for investigation, which is usual in such cases and which prevented his participation in the next stage of the contest, the organizers said.

Haradh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 11 (ČTK) - Czech racer Aleš Loprais today confirmed that his truck was involved in the death of a spectator who died at the Rally Dakar race Tuesday after a fatal collision. In a video posted to his Facebook confirming the tragedy, Loprais said the accident would affect him for the rest of his life.

"A spectator of Italian origin who was behind a dune had an accident on the rally course," organizers said in a brief statement about the first fatal accident in the 9th stage of the 45th Rally Dakar on Tuesday evening.

Loprais, who currently leads the truck competition, later released a video showing the accident and confirmed that he had been involved, although he and his crew had been unaware of it.

"I am very sorry and the accident will be with me for the rest of my life," he said.

The accident occurred when a 69-year-old Italian fan moved behind a dune, becoming invisible to the truck driver. He succumbed to sustained injuries while being airlifted to the hospital.

"The man was, unfortunately, standing under the dune and we didn't see him at all, none of us. I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends," said Loprais, who also celebrated his 43rd birthday on Tuesday.

According to the information he received from the rally organizers, the fan felt nauseous a few hours after the collision and had a heart attack while being transported to the hospital.

"One human life has ended indirectly by my fault because I was driving. I have to admit that I or my crew didn't know about it at all. We've got onboard and other videos prove it. But this changes nothing about a human life having ended," Loprais said.

According to available data, some 80 people have lost their lives at Rally Dakar since 1979, including 27 racers, with the remaining fatalities being members of crews, journalists, and spectators.

Loprais has not said whether he will continue to compete in the rally. He is scheduled to start for Erzeta at 11:05 a.m. Czech time, reports Sport.cz.

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