The organizers had previously explained that “a malicious act” was not excluded and, according to an AFP journalist, security around the caravan was reinforced.
In a message on Twitter, the Saudi Arabian Interior Minister dismissed all “suspicions of a criminal order” to explain this “accident”. As he explained, five French were in that assistance car and “one was hospitalized and is in a reassuring state.”
“The driver of the car was seriously injured in the leg and had to undergo an operation. His condition is on the way to improvement (…) His vehicle was brutally slowed down by a sudden explosion, the reason for which is unknown for now. The Saudi police immediately went to the scene and began their investigations, without ruling out any possibility, including that of malicious action, “according to a statement from the organizer of the test, ASO, released before the tweet from the Saudi authorities.
The race director, David Castera, specified in an interview with francetvinfo.fr that the pilot is Philippe Boutron, who was participating in the Dakar Rally for the ninth time and is also known for being the president of the US Orleans soccer club.
😱 The #Dakar2022 will bring you dunes, drama, desperation, desolation, delight…
Watch the full highlights of the day! ⏮
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 1, 2022