The seventh stage of the Dakar Rally began with competitors mourning the death of French rider Thomas Bourgin who was killed earlier in the day after colliding with a Chilean Police car whilst making his way to the starting line.
He was 25-years-old.
The stage did go ahead though – a spectacular mountainous adventure to Salta in the north west of Argentina.
American Kurt Caselli became the first Dakar Rally rookie to win a stage on his first outing in the bike category since Ruben Faria in 2006. The KTM rider made the most of the quick terrain to blast through the 218 kilometres of special.
Caselli crossed the line one minute and 23 seconds clear of Chile’s Francisco Lopez who climbs into second in the general standings just over 6 minutes behind leader Olivier Pain of France, who was third on the day.
Stephane Peterhansel, the Dakar Rally’s all-time record holder with ten titles, consolidated top spot in the car’s general standings by winning the stage. It was the Frenchman’s second victory of this year’s edition after he also claimed stage two.
The reigning champion is three minutes and 14 seconds clear of closest challenger and 2011 winner Nasser Al-Attiyah who was sixth across the line in Salta.