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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 14:31 GMT
Motorcyclist dies in Dakar Rally
Elmer Symons
Symons was killed after 142km of the stage
South African motorcyclist Elmer Symons was killed during the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally on Tuesday.

He was the first competitor to die in this year's race. One competitor and two children were killed last year.

Symons, 29, was taking part in the race for the first time as a competitor having twice completed the course as part of the back-up teams.

France's Jean-Louis Schlesser won the car section of the stage and Spain's Marc Coma won the motorcycle section.

One-time Formula One driver Schlesser broke the Volkswagen stranglehold in his Ford and finished in a little under four hours.

Stage one winner Carlos Sousa finished second in the first of the Volkswagens to move third overall, while outright leader Carlos Sainz consolidated his position at the top of the leaderboard by finishing third.

Marc Coma won the motorcycle section of the stage from Er Rachidia to Ouarzazateto to take the overall lead.

In the motorcycle section, Coma, who also won Monday's stage, brought his KTM home 12 minutes 16 seconds clear of compatriot Isidre Esteve Pujol.

Frenchman Cyril Despres finished third, 18 minutes 56 seconds behind Coma.

Organisers were informed during the morning that there had been an accident at kilometre 142 and a helicopter was dispatched to the scene.

Doctors pronounced Symons dead when they arrived at the scene of the accident, organisers said in a statement.

Two years ago, 2001 and 2002 champion Fabrizio Meoni of Italy and Juan Manuel Perez of Spain, both motorcyclists with KTM, were killed.


Dakar Rally stage 4 result (cars):
1 Jean-Louis Schlesser (Fra) Schles-Ford-Raid 3 hrs 59mins 54secs
2 Carlos Sousa (Por) Volkswagen 4:07:46
3 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Volkswagen 4:07:52
4 Nani Roma (Spa) Mitsubishi 4:07:59
5 Giniel de Villiers (SA) Volkswagen 4:08:45
6 Hiroshi Masuoka (Jap) Mitsubishi 4:09:24
7 Luc Alphand (Fra) Mitsubishi 4:12:03
8 Guerlain Chicherit (Fra) BMW 4:13:21
9 Benoit Rousselot (Fra) Nissan 4:23:50
10 Stephane Peterhansel (Fra) Mitsubishi 4:25:50

Cars overall standings:
1 Carlos Sainz (Spa) 9hrs 17mins 11secs
2 Giniel de Villiers (SA) 1:55 behind
3 Carlos Sousa (Por) 4:20
4 Nani Roma (Spa) 11:44
5 Hiroshi Masuoka (Jap) 12:49
6 Luc Alphand (Fra) 16:10
7 Jean-Louis Schlesser (Fra) 18:20
8 Guerlain Chicherit (Fra) 18:28
9 Stephane Peterhansel (Fra) 24:01
10 Marc Miller (USA) 41:54

Stage 4 result (bikes):
1 Marc Coma (Spa) KTM 4 hrs 27mins 54secs
2 Isidre Esteve Pujol (Spa) KTM at 12mins 16secs
3 Cyril Despres (Fra) KTM at 18:56
4 David Casteu (Fra) KTM at 23:43
5 Pal Anders Ullevalseter (Nor) KTM at 26:34
6 Chris Blais (USA) KTM at 26:53

Bikes overall standings:
1 Marc Coma (Spa) 10hrs 10mins 32secs
2 Isidre Esteve Pujol (Spa) at 11mins 50secs
3 David Casteu (Fra) at 24:20
4 Chris Blais (USA) at 35:04



SEE ALSO
Sainz takes overall lead in Dakar
08 Jan 07 |  Rallying
Sainz claims Dakar stage victory
07 Jan 07 |  Rallying
Portuguese duo take Dakar honours
06 Jan 07 |  Rallying
Dakar Rally welcomes record entry
06 Jan 07 |  Rallying
Dakar Rally to tighten security
09 May 06 |  Rallying
Alphand wraps up maiden Dakar win
15 Jan 06 |  Rallying


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