Philippe Boutron and Mayeul Barbet racing in the 2020 Dakar Rally. (Reuters)
PARIS — An explosion under a support auto at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia that wounded French race driver Philippe Boutron on Dec. 30 was prompted by an improvised explosive gadget, a French source acquainted with the investigation mentioned on Friday.
Confirming a report by RTL radio, the supply advised Reuters that investigators had observed traces of explosives on Boutron’s wrecked motor vehicle in Saudi Arabia.
French International Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has mentioned that there ended up suspicions of a terrorist attack, but Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry explained on Jan. 8 that an initial investigation into the blast had not raised any felony suspicions.
A second explosion at the Dakar rally, below a truck belonging to the group of Camelia Liparoti on Dec. 31, is also beneath investigation by French police. French radio RMC claimed the truck’s driver read a “growth” before a fireplace broke out.
French anti-terrorism prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into the explosion in January. French RMC radio described that a workforce together with French DGSI key company brokers and an investigating magistrate traveled to Saudi Arabia, where by the rally was held, for many times. They also questioned witnesses in France upon their return from Saudi Arabia.
French Overseas Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reported at the time that “there ended up hypotheses” that the incident “was a terrorist assault”.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said on Jan. 8 that an preliminary investigation into the first blast had not elevated any criminal suspicions. But French authorities mentioned the Saudis have been cooperating with the investigation.
The Dakar Rally was initially a race from Paris to Dakar, Senegal, but it was moved to South America for 2009-2019 mainly because of political unrest in Africa. It was moved yet again, to Saudi Arabia, in 2020.