Dakar: Total Motorsports statement on Meoni

Méoni dies after crashing on Dakar Rally 11 January, 2005 - Italian Fabrizio Méoni has died of his injuries after crashing on Stage 11 of the 2005 Telefónica Dakar Rally on Tuesday between Atâr and Kiffa, in Mauritania. Méoni crashed at...

Méoni dies after crashing on Dakar Rally

11 January, 2005 - Italian Fabrizio Méoni has died of his injuries after crashing on Stage 11 of the 2005 Telefónica Dakar Rally on Tuesday between Atâr and Kiffa, in Mauritania.

Méoni crashed at the 184 km mark just after the CP1 control at 10h15 (GMT) Tuesday morning. Race organisers immediately dispatched a rescue helicopter, which arrived on the scene at 10h36 and doctors treated Méoni for 45 minutes. However, at 11h11, he suffered a heart attack and could not be revived.

Fabrizio Méoni, who won the Dakar Rally in 2001 and 2002, and was competing for the thirteenth time, passed the CP1 control in fifth position immediately prior to the crash, and had been lying in second place overall in the 9000 km event. He had celebrated his 47th birthday on 31 December, the day the event began in Spain. Méoni announced his retirement after last year's rally, but decided to have one last attempt at the toughest motorsport event in the world.

Méoni's death follows just one day after the death of privateer Spanish motorcycle rider, Jose Manuel Perez, 41, who crashed during last Thursday's stage. He died of his injuries in hospital on Monday.

Méoni's former team mate in the KTM Gauloises squad, Richard Sainct, died a few months ago while competing in the 2004 Pharaohs Rally. Team mates Alfie Cox, Cyril Despres and Méoni had planned to finish 1-2-3 on the Dakar podium in honour of their fallen comrade, but now only Cox and Despres survive the original foursome.

Attempts to reach South African Cox for comment on the day's terrible news failed as a result of Cox being too shocked to talk via satellite phone from the Kiffa bivouac which he reached on Tuesday afternoon. Cox finished the day's stage in fifth place, 4 min 45 sec behind the stage winner, Marc Coma, and had presumably been unaware of what had happened to his team mate.

Méoni was married with two children and had said that this would be the last time he would compete on the Dakar Rally.

But now he will never reach Dakar - his body was taken to Atâr on Tuesday prior to being taken to Italy.

-Total Motorsport

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Fabrizio Meoni , Cyril Despres , Richard Sainct , Marc Coma