A 20-year-old French chief mechanic, Quentin Lavallée, died in a road accident on the sidelines of the Dakar 2022 in Saudi Arabia, organizers said in a statement on Friday. “His passenger, Maxime Frère, of Belgian nationality, was injured and transported conscious to the National Guards Hospital in Jeddah where a complete assessment is in progress”, it is specified.
The mechanic of the French team PH Sport died a few hours before the end of the event, during a liaison on the 12th and last stage of the rally-raid. The accident took place “around 11:30 am”, at kilometer 234 of a connection which has 516 in total, and involved a “local truck”, according to the press release sent by the organizer ASO. It occurs on the last day of an edition which had not experienced any major accident in the race.
The specter of the December 30 explosion
Out of the race, on the other hand, the explosion of a vehicle on December 30 in Jeddah, the origin of which remains officially unknown, seriously injured the French pilot Philippe Boutron, 61, repatriated after having been operated on. French justice has opened an investigation for “attempted assassinations in connection with a terrorist enterprise”.
What is still officially described as an “accident” by the organization and the authorities has caused a drastic reinforcement of security measures around the competition, including during this last stage where AFP was able to note the presence of cars police at very regular intervals around the special.