DAKAR RALLY 2023
Dakar Rally death sees truck racer withdrawal
Ales Loprais, a driver from the Czech Republic, hit an Italian spectator in the Saudi dunes who died shortly after the accident.
The Dakar Rally 2023 event organisers in Saudi Arabia have confirmed that Czech driver Ales Loprais has withdrawn from the race after a spectator, named as Livio Sassinotti, died following an incident with his vehicle. Loprais was leading the truck category at the time but could not continue when news arrived that the Italian man had not survived.
Loprais retires from Dakar after man killed
“As a result [of the incident] he could not continue the race,” they said in an official statement. “The rally organizers join him in offering their condolences to the family and friends of the spectator, Livio Sassinotti.”
Loprais attempted to explain the situation from his perspective, posting a video of the incident on Facebook, where 69-year-old Livio Sassinotti can be seen taking photographs behind a dune, but he was unseen from the driver’s position.
“We had been already in bed but the Dakar stewards showed us video footage of an accident from the race that we hit a man by mistake,” said Loprais. “He was injured, he felt nauseous after two to three hours and he had a heart attack while being transported to the hospital. One human life has ended, indirectly my fault because I was driving.
“I have to admit that me and my crew didn’t know about it at all. We’ve got onboards and other videos that prove it but nothing changes that a human life ended... unfortunately he was standing under the dune and we didn’t see him at all.
“I’m very sorry and this accident will be with me for the rest of my life.”
The incident happened during Tuesday’s ninth stage.
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