Italian rally champion Giulia Maroni has died after plummeting 164 feet (50 metres) while on a hike.
Maroni, 37, was out walking her dog on the Modena Apennines in Italy on Sunday (Monday AEDT) when she slipped and fell, The Sun reports.
She was a passionate sportswoman and rally driver who was well known in the off-road world, having won the 2021 Italian Cross-Country Rally.
Maroni also participated in the Dakar Rally as a co-driver and navigator alongside Luciano Carcheri of the Angelo Caffi Corse team.
According to reports, she was hiking with her partner and dog on Mount Libro Aperto in the Pizzo dei Sassi Bianchi area when she lost her balance, slipping into the gully and falling among trees and rocks.
Maroni’s partner called emergency services, who then airlifted her to the Maggiore hospital in Bologna.
However, she died in the evening of January 28 from her injuries.
Mountain rescue station chief Nicolas Barattini told local media: “We saw immediately that the woman’s condition was unfortunately very serious.
“It was a tragic fatality, the woman placed her foot badly and slipped.”
The 4X4 Magazine, where she was collaborating as a correspondent and photographer, said: “The week starts with very bad news.
“An accident in the mountains took away Giulia Maroni, a passionate sportsman and off-roader, who had also collaborated with our magazine. RIP Giulia.”
Lina Van De Mars, who placed runner-up alongside Maroni in the FIA European Cup for Cross-Country Bajas in 2021, also paid tribute.
“We were just making new plans for the 2024 season,” she wrote, as reported by The Chequered Red Flag.
“It’s been an honour to know you. It’s been (a) pleasure to race with you. Still proud of us having become European vice champions in the world of baja and rallyraid racing.
“I am still in shock. Hoping smiles and sunshine will be with you.”
Maroni was president of the A-Team 4×4 off-road club of Castel San Pietro Terme in Bologna for many years and participated in the most important off-road races.
In 2016, she won the extreme all-female “Shemud” race among the forests of Malaysia.
Born in the city of Faenza in the province of Ravenna, Maroni was a resident in Castel Guelfo for many years.
According to local reports, Maroni and her partner were great mountain enthusiasts.
As well as an animal lover, she was also an adventure and bike enthusiast.
Last week, Australian motorsport champion Cameron Bartholomew suddenly passed away at the age of just 28.
His fiancee Chloe O’Carroll, who has three children with Bartholomew, confirmed the news on Thursday.
It followed the death of Spanish motorcyclist Carles Falcon after he suffered a serious crash during the Dakar Rally.
The 45-year-old racer was rushed to hospital in a helicopter in a “serious condition” after crashing during the second stage of the famous rally on January 7.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission