- French motorbike rider Thomas Bourgin killed in crash with police car
- The 25-year-old is the third person to die during this year's Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally was hit by yet another death as a French motorbike rider was killed following a collision with a Chilean police car.
Thomas Bourgin, 25, was on his way to start the seventh stage of the race when he was hit by the vehicle, which was traveling in the opposite direction.
Bourgin, from Saint Etienne, was found dead at the scene by medical officers.
An inquiry has been launched into the incident which comes after the deaths of two people following a crash between a taxi and a team support vehicle in the town of Tacna, close to the Chilean border.
A statement on the race's website read: "Motorcycle rider no. 106 Thomas Bourgin (FRA) was the victim of a fatal traffic accident on the link route as he made his way to the start of the day's special stage.
"The accident took place at 08.23 hours local time on the link route on the way up to the Chilean side of the mountain range. The 25-year-old rider collided with a Chilean police car that was travelling in the opposite direction. The exact circumstances of the accident are being subjected to an inquiry.
"The rally's medical teams deployed on the ground were only able to certify the rider's death, probably instant.
"Thomas Bourgin, from Saint Etienne, where he was born on December 23rd 1987, was in 68th place in the overall ranking of his first Dakar. He had realised his passion since 2009 when he took part in the Morocco Rally, followed by a 4th place in the 2011 Africa Race and a 7th place finish in the Tunisia Rally.
"The organisers of the Dakar and everyone involved in it express their great sadness to his family and friends and offer their most sincere condolences."
Since the inaugural race in 1978, 26 competitors have now lost their lives, while more than 50 have died overall. Only 74 of the original 182 participants made it to Dakar in the first year.
Although the race used to be held in Europe with the climax in Senegal, Africa, it was moved to South America in 2009 following threats of terrorism.