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Female spectator killed in racing crash

A woman was killed and several other Dakar Rally spectators injured when a vehicle taking part in the desert racing event careered off course and crashed into a group of onlookers on Saturday.

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AFP- A female spectator was killed after a vehicle taking part in the gruelling Dakar Rally careered off the course and crashed into a group of fans on Saturday, medical sources said.

The accident happened during the opening stage of the 2010 event between Buenos Aires and here.

A number of other spectators were also hurt in the incident which involved a 4x4 vehicle driven by German-Swiss duo Mirco Schultis and Ulrich Leardi.

"Competitor number 418 (Schultis-Leardi) collided with a group of spectators at the 75km mark of the special stage outside the 'public zone' (a secured area reserved for spectators)," said a statement released by the organisers before the fatality was confirmed.

The Dakar Rally, which was switched to South America last year because of increasing security concerns in its traditional African home, is widely-regarded as one of the most dangerous motorsports events in the world.

In the 2009 race, French motorcyclist Pascal Terry was killed while racing in the fourth stage.

According to an AFP count, Saturday's fatality brought the death count of people involved in the race since its inception in 1979 to 52 and the 16th spectator.
  

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