The new year got off on a sour note for a handful of people at the Dakar Rally prologue stage after an accident resulted in injuries to 11 spectators, including a 10-year old boy who is reportedly in serious condition.

The accident occurred through the 11 kilometer stage in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Racer Guo Meiling was competing in the race when she lost control of her X-Raid Mini Cooper after a jump, sending the race car off course where it hit a group of spectators. Video footage of the crash has since emerged, showing spectators frantically dispersing at the site of the crash before converging to help out those who were injured.

Organizers of the event also sprang to action immediately, neutralizing the stage to allow medical personnel to attend to those who were injured. All in all, six adults and five children were treated on the spot, although two of the 11 reported injuries, a father and his 10-year old son, were immediately airlifted to the Santa Francesca Romana hospital where they were diagnosed with head trauma and pulmonary trauma, respectively. Fortunately, doctors have since updated their conditions, saying that both are now stable.

It’s an incredibly sad incident for all parties concerned, especially for those who ended up getting hurt from the crash. The accident is also particularly traumatic for Guo, who, at 47 years old, was making her debut at the Dakar Rally, becoming the first Chinese woman to compete in the gruelling endurance race.

As if the events of the prologue stage were bad enough, the first official stage of the 2016 Dakar Rally from Rosario to Villa Carlos Paz was also cancelled due to poor weather conditions.

Continue reading after the jump for the full story.

Why it matters

It’s not the perfect way to start a new year, but things like this happen, so there’s really no point in blaming anybody for the accident that caused those injuries to the spectators. I personally don’t want to blame Guo for the accident because it wasn’t intentional. She lost control of her X-Rain Mini Cooper at the worst possible place where a lot of spectators were gathered.

Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported and the two people who ended up getting the brunt of crash appear to be on the road to recovery themselves. That’s about the only good news to come out of this whole fiasco, but it’s good news that comes with a big sigh of relief.

I hope that everyone recovers from this crash, including Guo, who I really feel bad for. Not only was she making history as the first Chinese woman to drive at the Dakar Rally, but doing so at 47 years old is an incredible feat in it itself. It’s unfortunate that she won’t take part in the race anymore, but there’s nothing anybody can do but respect that decision, especially after what she just went through.

I’d like to see her try again though. Maybe it won’t be in the Dakar Rally, but at some other race in the near future. I wish her and all those who were injured the best and I hope that they all recover, be it physical, mental, or emotional, in due time.

Now how about we get the rally started for good this time, huh? Mother Nature, please cooperate.

Source: Motorsport

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