Here’s the organizer’s statement after the fatal accident of Paulo Gonzalves: “Stage 7 was marked by a crash that claimed the life of Paulo Gonçalves, who was taking part in his 13th Dakar. The victories of Kevin Benavides (motorbikes) and Carlos Sainz (cars) take second place, leaving the centre stage to a memorial to Team Hero’s Portuguese rider to be held during the daily briefing with all competitors present.

Paulo Goncalves bei der Dakar 2020 tödlich verunglückt

The Dakar mourns Paulo Gonçalves, one of the most experienced and beloved champions of the rally-raid family. The runner-up of the 2015 edition and 2013 cross-country rallies world champion crashed 276 km into a special that was ultimately won by his former teammate Kevin Benavides, who tried in vain to assist the Portuguese rider together with Toby Price, the first competitor to reach the scene of the accident.”

Ricky Brabec: “On arriving we heard the news about Paulo. We all know that motorcycling is a dangerous sport, but today is a really sad day for the people of Cross-Country Rallies. Our thoughts are with the family. The race standings don’t mean anything anymore. It’s secondary. Life goes way beyond sport.”

Jordi Viladoms – KTM Rally Team Manager: “It has been an extremely sad day for the rally family and of course we send our condolences to Paulo’s family and friends. He was very much loved in the paddock – not only a great rider but also an amazing person and a legend of our sport. Obviously, the news has shocked us deeply, but no one more so than Toby, who was the first to reach Paulo after his crash. We are thankful that in respect for Paulo’s loved ones, and to pay tribute to a great man, tomorrow’s stage will be cancelled for the motorcycles. A day without racing will give all riders the chance to remember Paulo and clear their heads before continuing on Tuesday. Of course, we all hope for a safe finish to the event.”

Pela Renet – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally Team Manager: “First of all I would like to wish Paulo’s family and friends my deepest sympathy on what has been a terrible day for all of rally sport. It’s very difficult to come to terms with what has happened today and for sure it affects all of us in the bivouac. Out of respect for Paulo’s family, tomorrow’s stage has been cancelled. I believe it is the right decision and gives the riders some time to come to terms with what has happened. We know the risks in our sport, but we always hope that something like this will never happen. However, we have to accept this now, and in honour of Paulo we have to continue.”

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STORY: Paulo Goncalves bei der Dakar 2020 tödlich verunglückt

LINK: Rallye Dakar

photos (c) Eric Vargiolu/DPPI/Red Bull Content Pool