The Dakar Rally retained its deadly reputation despite a change of continent to South America when the body of a 49-year-old French motorcycle rider was found early yesterday.
"We are saddened to learn that Pascal Terry was found dead in the night from Jan 6 to 7 at 0210 am," organisers said. "He was in a place very hard to access in the middle of heavy bushes, some 15 metres from his bike. He had his helmet off and had found some shadow."
The rider from Normandy had been missing since Sunday's second stage and his body was recovered about 100 metres off the road and 190 kilometres south of where he had started in Santa Rosa, Argentina.
A spokesman for the organisers told the country's cable news channel TN that Terry had radioed on Sunday to say he had run out of fuel but contacted them again shortly afterwards to say he had got some from another competitor.
Later the same day he sent an emergency signal and a search was launched, although it was interrupted when organisers were wrongly informed that he had turned up at the finishing point for the rally's fourth stage in Neuquen.