Buenos Aires, Jan 8 (IANS) Dakar Rally quad champion Marcos Patronelli (Yamaha), a 33-year-old racer from Argentina who held the lead in his division, dropped out of the off-road race after surviving a serious accident.
Patronelli, who won the 2010 and 2013 editions in his category, was Tuesday racing in the third leg of the rally between the Argentine cities of San Rafael and San Juan when his quad suffered a mechanical failure and plummeted into a 500-metre deep ravine, reports Xinhua.
The Argentine driver avoided almost certain death by leaping off his quad, while travelling some 4,000 metres above sea level, before the vehicle careened off the edge.
Patronelli, born in Las Flores, Greater Buenos Aires, was the favourite to win the rally. In addition to his 2010 and 2013 wins, he was runner-up in 2009 and 2012.
His elder brother Alejandro, 35, came in second in 2010, and won in 2011 and 2012, but has not competed in the last two editions.