Jeddah: Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves, racing on motorbike number eight, has passed away following a crash in the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
He met with a fatal accident after 276 kilometers of the 339-mile route Dakar Rally ride from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir.
"The organisers received an alert at 10:08 and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest. Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead," the organisers said in a statement.
We are sad beyond words to share that our Hero, Paulo Goncalves, passed away today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family. A true champion, a great human being and, above all, a kindred spirit.RIP, Speedy Goncalves. #StormTheSands #RaceTheLimits #Dakar2020 pic.twitter.com/hwff5WirNu
- Hero MotoSports (@hero_motosports) January 12, 2020
The 40-year-old Goncalves was taking part in his 13th Dakar. He made his debut in 2006 and had finished four times in the top 10, including an impressive performance as runner-up to Marc Coma in 2015.
Goncalves, the 2013 cross-country rallies world champion, was sitting in 46th place overall after stage 6 of the 2020 Dakar.
The entire Dakar caravan extended their sincere condolences to his friends and family.