Aussie driver Steve Riley has been forced to retire from the gruelling Dakar Rally, and has been air lifted to a hospital in Lima. Riley and co-driver Trev Hanks had recovered from clutch problems in their home-built Holden Ute, only for an accident to end their Dakar Rally prematurely. "It is with regret that the battlers from down under have withdrawn from Dakar 2019!" they reported. "Early in the competitive stage today, Steve and Trev nosed the car over a sand dune which has resulted in Steve being airlifted to Lima for checks in regards to any back trauma, and Trev, although sore, is in good spirits considering the impact. "When we know more we will keep you all up to date. Thanks for all your support and well wishes! Cheers from the Team!"

Fesh fesh dust gets into everything, and caused major issues for the Riley Commodore ute.

On the rest day, the Aussie crew repaired a failed clutch, which was damaged after dust got in through holes in the starter motor. "Those gaps have been fixed and with bits from the two clutches the guys have constructed a third clutch, which hopefully will do the job for the remainder of the event," an earlier reported said. Latest team update: "Steve has just made contact and let the Team know the scans revealed no breaks or other issues stemming from the impact sustained. Steve will remain resting under observation for the next couple of days. Thanks for all the support and messages!"

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