Motorbike racer Paulo Gonçalves dies during Dakar Rally

310 Toyota Gazoo Racing Fernando Alonso Marc Coma

310 Toyota Gazoo Racing Fernando Alonso Marc Coma

Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves died following a crash in the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, organisers said.

The tragedy took place after 276 kilometers (171 miles) of the day's Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir test, which is mostly comprised of sand planes and dunes.

A helicopter arrived with the rider eight minutes after organisers were alerted to the crash, but he was pronounced dead at Layla Hospital. Goncalves is the first competitor to die while contesting the Dakar since Michal Hernik in 2015.

The Portuguese rider was competing with Indian motorcycle manufacturer Hero in his 13th-ever Dakar Rally.

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"The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its honest condolences to his friends and family", it said.

Mini have now won six of the seven stages.

With 20 of the 25 Dakar deaths since the inaugural edition in 1979 made up of bike riders Castera dwelt on the risks faced by riders.

Portugese rider Paulo Goncalves. Since making his debut at the race in 2006, Goncalves accumulated two top-10 finishes-one in 2012 and another the following year.

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Carlos Sainz continues to lead the rally's auto class by 10 seconds over Nasser Al-Attiyah after claiming his third stage win of this year's event. His other accolades include winning the 2013 World Cross-Country Rallies Championship.

40-year-old Paulo Gonçalves was taking part in his 13th Dakar.

In the motorbike class, US rider Ricky Brabec continues to lead.

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