The bereaved Dakar, Benavides sacred on motorcycle

Argentine Kevin Benavides (Honda) won the Dakar-2021 on Friday at the end of stage 12 between Yanbu and Jeddah, but the event was mourned by the death of French driver Pierre Cherpin, injured in Stage 7.

The amateur driver, who suffered a head trauma after a fall, died during his transfer to France from Saudi Arabia, the organizer of the rally raid announced Friday.

โ€œIt was during his transfer by sanitary plane between Jeddah and France thatโ€ this 52-year-old entrepreneur โ€œdied from injuries following a fall during the 7th stage Ha‘il โ€” Sakaka on January 10th,โ€ according to a statement from Amaury Sport Organisation.

This is the first death recorded in the 2021 edition of the event created in 1978.

Last year, Portuguese Paulo Gonรงalves died in the 7th stage, between Ryadh and Wadi Ad-Dawasir in Saudi Arabia.

For Pierre Cherpin, this was his fourth participation (2009, 2012, 2015 and 2021). After his fall, โ€œHelicopter rescue had joined him while he was unconscious. Transported to the hospital in Sakaka, his medical report reported serious head trauma with loss of consciousness,โ€ said the statement.

โ€œOperated in emergency neurosurgery, he had since been kept in artificial coma, his condition has remained stable all the past days. He had been transported by sanitary plane from Sakaka to Jeddah Hospital and then to France, where he was to join the hospital in Lille,โ€ said the organizer.

โ€œPierre left us following an acute fever probably of cerebral origin in the sanitary plane that dropped him in Le Bourget,โ€ says a post on the pilot’s Facebook page.