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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 13:23 GMT
Rider Meoni dies in Dakar Rally
Italian motorcyclist Fabrizio Meoni
Meoni won the event in 2001 and 2002
Italian motorcyclist Fabrizio Meoni died of a heart attack after crashing on the 11th stage of the Dakar Rally.

Meoni, a two-time winner of the event, became the second Dakar Rally rider to die in two days following the death of Spain's Jose Manuel Perez on Monday.

"We sent a helicopter when he fell and they found his heart had stopped - sadly they were unable to revive him," said rally director Etienne Lavigne.

The 47-year-old rider leaves a widow and two children.

A statement from the organisers described Meoni as "one of the greatest rally champions ever".

"The entire Dakar caravan wishes to express its sincere condolences to his family, his friends and his many admirers," added the statement.

Meoni is the 11th motorcyclist to die in the history of the gruelling race and the 45th competitor overall.

He had been challenging for a third victory and was lying in second place in the overall bike standings behind Cyril Despres.

Spainiard Marc Coma inherited Meoni's spot after winning the day's stage by more than a minute, with Despres still 14 minutes 50 seconds ahead.

In the car class, Germany's Jutta Kleinschmidt won the stage in her Volkswagen ahead of Frenchman Luc Alphand and last year's winner Stephane Peterhansel.

Peterhansel's Mitsubishi still holds a lead of 19 minutes 50 seconds overall over Alphand with Kleinschmidt third.

Stage 11 results - Cars
1. Jutta Kleinschmidt (Ger) VW 5 hours 29 minutes 37 seconds
2. Luc Alphand (Fra) Mitsubishi 1 minute 4 seconds behind
3. Stephane Peterhansel (Fra) Mitsubishi at 2.42
4. Bruno Saby (Fra) Volkswagen at 19.26
5. Giniel De Villiers (SA) Nissan at 20.20

Overall standings:
1. Peterhansel 33 hours 41 minutes 14 seconds
2. Alphand 19 minutes 50 seconds behind
3. Kleinschmidt at 1:08.03
4. De Villiers at 4:10.34
5. Roma at 8:30.34

Stage 11 results - Motorcycles
1. Marc Coma (Sp) KTM 5 hours, 58 minutes and 59 seconds
2. Cyril Despres (Fra) KTM 1 minute 12 seconds behind
3. Isidre Esteve Pujol (Spa) KTM at 3.57
4. Jean De Avezado (Brz) KTM at 4.05
5. Alfie Cox (SA) KTM at 4.45

Overall standings:
1. Despres 35 hours 13 minutes 4 seconds
2. Coma at 14 minutes 50 seconds behind
3. Esteve Pujol at 22.23
4. Cox at 24.28
5. David Fretigne (France) Yamaha at 40.17

Bike racer dies after Dakar crash
10 Jan 05 |  Motorsport

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