Dakar Truck Driver Disqualified After Injuring Spectator in Bizarre Blind Collision
Kamaz truck driver Andrey Karginov claims he simply didn't see the man he injured as the truck was ascending a large sand dune.
Dakar truck driver Andrey Karginov was disqualified from the race after striking a 60-year-old South African man and leaving him with a broken femur, reports Motorsport.
The injured spectator was in a group of five standing outside of a designated spectator area. The group rushed to get out of the way of Karginov's Kamaz when they realized it was coming towards them, but one man tripped and fell on the sand, which resulted in his left leg getting driven over by the left wheel of the truck.
Dakar trucks are perhaps the last vehicles on earth you'd want to get hit by, as they're big, bulky 10-ton behemoths that can seat three grown men across. Dakar calls the vehicles you and I would typically consider a truck "Cars" instead, leaving the "Trucks" class to these big behemoths.
The man was rushed to a hospital in Arequipa, Peru, after the incident. Meanwhile, Karginov was disqualified for not stopping to attend to the spectator's injuries on the stage, per a statement by the Amaury Sport Organization that runs Dakar.
According to Kamaz team leader Vladimir Chagin, Karginov didn't realize he had hit anyone until he was notified at the bivouac at the end of the day's stage. Chagin said that Karginov's exclusion for hitting a spectator he couldn't see is extremely harsh in a statement to Motorsport:
There's a lot [of] spectators on the route, and in the most difficult parts there's always particularly many of them, spread out in various groups.
As he [Karginov] was driving up one of the ascents, there was a group of five spectators in the path of the truck. Four managed to clear off but one tripped in the sand and his leg was caught under the rear wheel of the truck.
Andrey naturally didn't see this—it was an ascent and all you can see through the windshield is the sky and the top of the mountain – so he only found out about the accident upon arriving to the bivouac.
It was investigated by the commissioners and, much to our surprise, the organizers made the very harsh decision to disqualify the crew.
We're very surprised by the decision, but we can't protest it here, only after the race has wrapped up. So we have to accept it and continue with three crews.
I have to admit that I agree with Chagin here, as even if competitors expect to see spectators outside of designated zones, those spectators really shouldn't be there. While Dakar is brutally long and hard to police, the responsibility usually falls on event organizers to make sure spectators are not standing in spots where competitors can't see them ahead. If you attend a rally in person, please stick to designated spectator zones and heed the instruction of course cars and other authorities who are there to keep you safe.
Karginov, who competes with mechanic Igor Leonov and navigator Andrey Mokeev, was one of four Kamaz trucks racing this year on Chagin's team.
Once they knew about the injured spectator, Karginov, Chagin, and team doctor Irina Zelenkova both made a side-trip to check on him at the hospital in Arequipa, Jalopnik notes. The injured spectator even gave a friendly thumbs-up to the camera in a photo taken by the Kamaz team.
Karginov was running third in the Trucks class this year and had won two of the five stages so far when his truck was disqualified from the race. This isn't his first crack at it, either, as Karginov won Dakar's trucks class in a Kamaz in 2014. Chagin is also a past winner, having won the Dakar Rally seven times before.
The video of the incident is below, and be advised that while this was filmed from farther away, it may be of a graphic nature to some as it does show a spectator getting injured.