The 2009 Dakar Rally recorded its first fatality today as French motorcyclist Pascal Terry was found dead three days after disappearing.
The 49-year-old had been declared missing during Sunday’s second stage of the rally which runs between Santa Rosa and Puerto Madryn. After a police search, Terry’s body was discovered in dubious circumstances at 2.10am today.
The organisers of the rally said: “He was found in a very inaccessible area of dense vegetation, 15m from his bike. He had removed his helmet and taken shelter with food and water.”
The La Pampa state police force is working to determine the cause of death.
According to La Nación newspaper, before competing in the Dakar, Terry had told friend Pascal Gilbert: “I think it’s going to be sensational. The course seems fabulous and we are going to be part of a great moment.”
This year’s 30th annual Dakar Rally is the first to be staged in Argentina and Chile. The infamously dangerous race had to be moved from its old course in Africa due to security fears.
Terry becomes the 49th competitor to be killed in the history of the Dakar Rally while several spectators have also lost their lives. At the close of Tuesday’s fourth stage, a total of 70 competitors had already been reported missing since the start of the rally.