Two More Deaths Push Total to Six in Dakar Rally

Two bystanders, a mother and a child, were killed Thursday on the eve of the finish of the Paris-to-Dakar Rally, bringing to six the number of deaths that have occured since the rally left Paris on Jan. 1.

No further details were immediately available on the accident, which was believed to have involved a press car that was following the rally.

Earlier, a motorcyclist, a 10-year-old spectator and two drivers were killed. Twenty-three people have died in the 8,000-mile rally since it was set up in 1979 by veteran racer Thierry Sabine.

Sabine himself was killed during the rally in 1986 in a helicopter crash. About 85% of the course is laid out on Sahara sand dunes.

In another development, Ari Vatanen, the Finnish driver who led most of the way, was officially excluded from the event after an appeal was rejected by the International Auto Sports Federation in Paris.

Vatanen was disqualified three days earlier when he failed to appear at the starting line within the 30-minute time limit set by the regulations. His car was stolen in Bamako, Mali.

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