Published: Mon, January 13, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Dakar 2020: Hero's Paulo Goncalves Dies After Fall

Dakar 2020: Hero's Paulo Goncalves Dies After Fall

The 2020 Dakar Rally proceedings took a dark & tragic turn as Hero MotoSports rider Paulo Goncalves lost his life after a tragic accident during Stage 7 on Sunday.

The 40-year-old Hero Motorsports rider, taking part in his 13th Dakar Rally since making his debut in 2006, suffered fatal injuries after a fall, which too place 276km into Sunday's special stage from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir. At 10:16 a.m. local time, he crashed and a medical helicopter was dispatched. "Following resuscitation efforts, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla hospital where he was sadly pronounced dead".

"The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its honest condolences to his friends and family", the organisers' statement said. He swapped his Hero's blown engine out singlehandedly in the desert in Stage 3 of the 2020 race, and despite a huge time penalty that put him in 46th overall, was still pushing hard for good results in each stage since.

He was the 25th Dakar fatality since the inaugural edition of the gruelling motorsport marathon in 1979, and the first since Polish rider Michal Hernik was killed in 2015 in Argentina. "It isn't just a team, it is a family for us and we are devastated with the passing away of one of our members, Paulo Goncalves", Wolfgang Fischer, Head of Hero MotoSports Team Rally said.

Goncalves' addition to the Hero MotoSports Team Rally squad had been seen as a boost to the manufacturer's relatively recent Dakar Rally participation.

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Many might remember Goncalves from his heroic crash recovery in the 2016 Dakar Rally.

Carlos Sainz continues to lead the rally's auto class by 10 seconds over Nasser Al-Attiyah after claiming his third stage win of this year's event.

Mini have now won six of the seven stages.

The Monday result leaves Alonso 13th in the overall classification, but just four minutes off a top-10 position, and suggests he could've potentially fought for best of the rest behind the three leaders if not for his lengthy stop for repairs in the second stage.

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