Three-time Dakar Rally winner Richard Sainct was killed on Wednesday in an accident during the Rally of the Pharoahs in Egypt.

Three-time Dakar Rally winner Richard Sainct was killed on Wednesday in an accident during the Rally of the Pharoahs in Egypt.

The Frenchman fell 285km into the first special from Baharia to Siwa, race organiser Massimo Garbaccio said.

Racing in the fourth stage was fast on a sandy and slightly uneven surface. There were no witnesses to the accident and riders who later arrived at the scene alerted organisers.

"Sainct was transported unconscious but still alive to the mobile clinic. It was shortly after being admitted that he died. We don't know the exact nature of his injuries which brought about his death," said Garbaccio.

"The body was transported to the hospital at Siwa and then to Cairo," he said, adding: "We're all very shocked."

Sainct's KTM team withdrew from the race and as a tribute, Thursday’s fifth stage will only have one special instead of two.

The Frenchman won this rally in 2002, and won the Dakar Rally three times in 1999, 2000 and 2003. Sainct was this year’s runner-up.