2 Jan 2012

Death of motorcyle rider overshadows opening day of Rally of Dakar

5:27 pm on 2 January 2012

The death of Argentinian rider Jorge Martinez Boero has overshadowed the first day of the Dakar Rally, during which Russia's Leonid Novitzkiy lead the car section and Chilean Francisco Lopez the motorbike.

The 38-year-old Boero, suffered a heart attack after being seriously injured in a fall bike two kilometres from the end of the first stage.

Boero's death was the 21st of a competitor during a Dakar Rally, since it was first run in 1979.

Fifty-nine have died during the event, including more than 20 spectators.

The defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah however struggled home 9min 50sec behind Novitzhiy after his Hummer ran into mechanical problems.