Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret collided with a motorcycle competitor travelling in the opposite direction along a narrow trail during Stage 10 of 2017 Dakar Rally. The 2016 winners stopped to provide the biker with assistance. Deeply affected by the incident, they stayed with him until the arrival at the scene of the medical helicopter approximately a quarter-of-an-hour after the accident. Once the minutes spent attending to the motorcyclist were subtracted from the French pair’s time, they were accredited with their third fastest time of this year’s event and they currently top the provisional standings by a margin of 5m50s. The rider, Simon Marcic, suffered an open tibia-fibula fracture.
“There was a biker in front of me reversing and when he saw me he hit the brakes but we collided”, said Peterhansel. “His leg was broken but he was still conscious. We stayed with him until the medical helicopter arrived. After that, it was difficult to drive with a good speed.”
Stéphane Peterhansel: “The main thing I’m interested in is getting news to know how the biker is doing”
“It was tough today. The navigation was very difficult and everyone kept getting lost in the maze of dry river beds. At one point, we were lost, and so was the biker who we came across travelling in the opposite direction. He just appeared from behind a bush and I instantly braked as hard as I could. He did too but, in doing so, he fell and we collided with him and he ended up underneath the car.”
“We got out and saw that he was conscious but he appeared to have a broken leg. We stayed with him until the arrival of the medical helicopter. Once we got going again, we had trouble focusing and finding a decent pace. Happily, we didn’t lose our way as much as the others and we ended up having a good run. The time we spent with the motorcyclist was taken into account at the finish. We were eventually accredited with the fastest time. We’re back in the lead now, so that’s a welcome development with just two more days to go.”