France investigates possible second blast at Dakar rally in Saudi

France investigates possible second blast at Dakar rally in Saudi
# 27 January 2022 21:19 (UTC +04:00)

French authorities are looking into a second potentially suspicious explosion at the Dakar sports car rally in Saudi Arabia last month, French radio station RMC reported on Thursday, APA reports.

According to RMC, a truck belonging to the team of Franco-Italian rally competitor Camelia Liparoti caught fire on Dec. 31 after the driver heard a "boom". A day earlier an explosion under a support vehicle at the rally seriously injured French race driver Philippe Boutron.

French anti-terrorism prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into the first explosion earlier this month. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said "there were hypotheses that it was a terrorist attack".

However, Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said on Jan. 8 that an initial investigation into the first blast had not raised any criminal suspicions.

RMC said France's DGSI secret service was also interested by what happened to Liparoti's truck, a support vehicle for her X-Raid race team.

On its website, RMC showed a video of the truck destroyed by fire, saying that its gas tank was found 50 metres (164 ft) away from the truck and had a hole in it.

The broadcaster said the driver heard an explosion and jumped out of the truck. No one was harmed.

France's anti-terrorism prosecutors declined to comment.

The French foreign ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the RMC report, nor did the Saudi government.