Schultis lost control of his car at a bend in the first stage of the race and ploughed into a crowd of fans near the town of Rio Cuarto. “A 28-year-old woman suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as injuries to her stomach and pelvis,” a local doctor said. The woman died later in hospital, and five other spectators were seriously injured.
Eye-witnesses reported that the 43-year-old Schultis got out of the car in shock and desperately looked around for help. He has now quit the race.
The victims of the accident were standing in an area very close to the course not permitted for spectators, organisers said, though they admitted that the area had not been cordoned off.
The Argentinian woman is the 59th person to have been killed at the Dakar rally since its inception in 1978. Spectators have regularly crowded close to the race track throughout its history. This year’s race covers 9,000 kilometres through Argentina and Chile.