China's top rally driver and two-time Dakar Rally participant, Xu Lang, died of head trauma after an accident on Tuesday during the fifth leg of the ongoing Transoriental Rally in Russia.

The 31-year-old Xu was hit in the face by the tow hook of a trailer while trying to drag Xu's submerged off-roader out of the mud.

A medical team arrived by helicopter 26 minutes later, but Xu died in a local hospital in Orenburg, Russia, due to "a loss of cerebral substance".

Known for his mental toughness, Xu was China's best rally driver. He finished 19th at the renowned Dakar Rally in 2006, the best result ever recorded by a Chinese driver in the world's most grueling rally event.

Australian co-driver, Dale Moscatt, called pacenotes for Xu on many occasions, including at Rally Australia in 2006.

“Xu Lang and I had met back in 2002 and from the moment I met him, and with his fantastic energy and enthusiasm, we became close friends,” Moscatt said.

“When I first visited China he took me in like a best friend and showed me all the sights. It was therefore a pleasure to join up with him in 2006, and of course, an honour to compete with him and his #1 door plate that he worked so hard to rightfully own.

“I will also have lasting memories of bringing him out to Australia and to have him compete down here, where as usual he was a very popular addition to both our series and the WRC event in which we also competed,” Moscatt added.
“I know that his energy and enthusiasm will be missed by all he touched, and who either knew him or even just came to watch the spectacle that he was and always created. As a truly talented driver and genuine nice guy, he will certainly leave a void in Chinese rallying, but I do believe he will also leave such a positive inspiration and legacy to so many young aspiring drivers.
“Although it is hard for all of us at this time, I'm sure if we all remember how many good things he did for not only all of us individually, but also for the sport, and indeed for his country. We can all find closure in the fact that he has made a lasting impact on bettering us all,” Moscatt said.

RallySport Magazine sends its sincere condolences to Xu’s family and friends at this sad time.
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