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Dakar rider Thomas Bourgin killed

A French motorbike rider competing in the Dakar Rally died on Friday after crashing into a Chilean police car, organisers reported.

Thomas Bourgin, aged 25, was making his way to the start of the seventh stage when he hit the car, which was coming in the opposite direction on the link road to the start of Friday's stage in Calama.

France's Thomas Bourgin on KTM is pictured during the 2013 Dakar Rally departure ceremony in Lima. Photo: AFP. Credit: AFP

An inquiry was launched into the precise circumstances of the incident which brings to three the number of deaths in this year's Dakar in the past 24 hours.

Bourgin, from Saint Etienne, was discovered dead at the scene.

"The rally's medical teams deployed on the ground were only able to certify the rider's death, probably instant," a statement on the race's official website reported.

Bourgin was in 68th place in the overall ranking of his first Dakar.

His demise follows that of two people killed in a head-on collision between a Dakar Rally support vehicle and a taxi near Peru's border with Chile on Thursday.

One of two taxis hit the support vehicle head-on while a second cab overturned as its driver tried to avoid the collision.

Two people in the first taxi, including the driver, were killed and seven people, four of them Peruvian, were injured.

Three of the injured travelling in a Land Rover support vehicle were British members of the Race2Recovery team made up of British and US servicemen who have been severely injured and lost limbs in foreign conflicts.- AFP

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