Three-time Dakar Rally winner Hubert Auriol dies at 68

French driver Hubert Auriol was the first racer to win the Dakar Rally on a motorbike in 1981 and '83 and then in a car in 1992.

Hubert Auriol served as Dakar Rally's director for over a decade after his retirement.   -  Getty Images

Hubert Auriol, the first competitor to win the Dakar Rally on a motorbike and in a car, has died. He was 68.

The Dakar Rally announced that Auriol died on Sunday. It did not specify a cause but the Frenchman had battled heart disease for many years.

The charismatic Auriol won the race, which was then called the Paris-Dakar Rally, on a motorbike in 1981 and '83 and then in a car in 1992.

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Auriol later became director of the race, a position he held for nearly a decade. In recent years, he had worked as a Paris-based auto racing consultant.

“He inspired generations of riders and drivers and has been an integral part of the rally throughout its history,” the Dakar Rally said.

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