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The 2012 Dakar Rally

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More than 500 teams are currently speeding across the deserts of Argentina, Chile, and Peru, racing more than 8,300 km (5,150 mi) in the 33rd annual Dakar Rally. Competitors pit themselves against the elements, driving specialized off-road cars, trucks, motorcycles, and quadbikes through challenging terrain for two weeks. One rider, Argentine Jorge Martinez Boero, has already died this year in a crash. The 2012 Dakar Rally began in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on January 1, and racers reached the finish line in Lima, Peru, on Sunday, January 15. [41 photos]

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Stefan Svitko rides his KTM during the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally 2012, from Iquique to Arica, Chile, on January 11, 2012. (Reuters/Jerome Prevot)
Stefan Svitko rides his KTM during the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally 2012, from Iquique to Arica, Chile, on January 11, 2012. (Reuters/Jerome Prevot)
All the motorbike riders pose for a group photo during preparations for the 2012 Dakar Rally in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on December 31, 2011. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #
Hummer's driver Robby Gordon and co-driver Johnny Campbell from the U.S. jump across the podium during the symbolic start of the 2012 Dakar Rally in Mar del Plata on December 31, 2011. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images) #
A biker competes in the 11th stage of the Dakar Rally 2012 from Arica to Arequipa, Peru, on January 12, 2012. (Reuters/Philippe Desmazes) #
French motorcyclist Cyril Despres rides his KTM during the stage 10 of the Dakar 2012 between Iquique and Arica, Chile, on January 11, 2012. Spain's Joan Barreda won stage 10. (JEROME PREVOST/AFP/Getty Images) #
Christophe Blondeau of France naps during a break in the 10th stage of the 2012 Argentina-Chile-Peru Dakar Rally in Chile, on January 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Prevost) #
Mechanics work into the night during the rest day of the 2012 Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile on January 8, 2012. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images,) #
Argentina's Marcos Patronelli races his Yamaha quad as a helicopter flies over during the seventh stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally through Copiapo, Chile, on January 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia) #
Mini's driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret, both from France, compete in the 11th stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally between Arica, Chile and Arequipa, Peru, on January 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia) #
France's Stephane Peterhansel and co-pilot Jean-Paul Cottret drive their Mini Monster during the eighth stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally from Copiapo to Antofagasta, on January 9, 2012. (Reuters/Jerome Prevot) #
Mini Monster pilot France's Stephane Peterhansel arrives for the start of the 10th stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally, on January 11, 2012. (Reuters/Jerome Prevot) #
France's Christophe Blondeau kicks up sand on his Yamaha during the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, on January 7, 2012. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Cyril Despres, of France, races his KTM in the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally on January 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Prevost) #
Senkalayci Sakir of Turkey rides down a sand dune during stage five of the 2012 Dakar Rally from Chilechito to Fiambala, Argentina, on January 5, 2012. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #
A race official tends to Mauricio Javier Gomez of Argentina and the Paco Gomez Team after he crashed his Yamaha motorbike in a sand dune during stage five of the 2012 Dakar Rally in Fiambala, Argentina, on January 5, 2012. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #
Joan Pedrero, of Spain, races his KTM in the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica, Chile, on January 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Prevost) #
Peruvian Felipe Rios rides his KTM right after the start of the Stage 9 of the 2012 Dakar Rally between Copiapo and Antofagasta in Chile, on January 9, 2012. (Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images) #
SMG pilot Alister McRae of Scotland gets a massage on the eve of the eighth stage of the Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, on January 8, 2012. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Mini driver Ricardo Leal Dos Santos and co-driver Paulo Fiuza, both from Portugal, compete in the 11th stage of the Dakar Rally between Arica, Chile and Arequipa, Peru, on January 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia) #
The burning car of Alfie Cox of South Africa and co-driver Jurgen Schroder sits in the sand dunes during stage one of the 2012 Dakar Rally on January 1, 2012 in Santa Rosa de la Pampa, Argentina. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #
The burning Polaris of Jose Antonio Blangino of Argentina sits in the sand dunes during stage one of the 2012 Dakar Rally on January 1, 2012 in Santa Rosa de la Pampa, Argentina. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #
Bernard Errandonea of France drives his SMG in stage eight of the 2012 Dakar Rally from Copiapo to Antofagasta, Chile on January 9, 2012. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images,) #
France's Stephane Peterhansel and co-pilot Jean-Paul Cottret drive their Mini Monster as they arrive in Copiapo after the cancelled sixth stage of the Dakar Rally, on January 6, 2012. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
A motorbike rider crosses the Chile-Peru border before the start of the 2012 Dakar Rally Stage 11, in Tacna, Peru on January 12, 2012. (Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images) #
Jo Adua of France drives his Iveco truck over a sand dune during stage seven of the 2012 Dakar Rally on January 7, 2012 in Copiapo, Chile. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images,) #
France's Cyril Despres cleans his mud-encrusted KTM bike during the eighth stage of the Dakar Rally, on January 9, 2012. (Reuters/Francois Lefloch) #
Stephane Peterhansel of France drives his Mini towards the stage finish on stage nine of the 2012 Dakar Rally from Antofagasta to Iquique, Chile, on January 10, 2012. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #
Cyril Despres, of France, races his KTM in the 10th stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica, Chile, on January 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Jerome Prevost, Pool) #
Injured biker Xavier Pizzolito, from Argentina, is carried to a helicopter during the eighth stage of the Dakar Rally in Chile's Atacama desert, on January 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia) #
Spain's Joan Barreda Bort rides his Huqsvarna in the tenth stage of the Dakar Rally from Iquique to Arica, on January 11, 2012. (Reuters/Jerome Prevot) #
Mechanics prepare the Man truck of France's Raphael Gimbre on the eve of the eighth stage of the Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, on January 8, 2012. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Spain's Gerard Farres Guell rides his KTM during the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile on January 7, 2012. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
The Netherlands' Frans Verhoeven rides his Sherco in the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally from San Juan to Chilecito, on January 4, 2012. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Jacek Czachor of Poland and the Orlen Team crosses a river during stage eleven of the 2012 Dakar Rally from Arica to Arequipa, Peru, on January 12, 2012. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #
France's Camelia Liparoti waits on her Yamaha quad for the start of the 11th stage of the Dakar Rally from Arica to Arequipa, on January 12, 2012. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Kamaz driver Andrey Karginov and co-driver Andrey Mokeev, both from Russia, compete in the truck category in the third stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally between San Rafael and San Juan, Argentina, on January 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Frederic Le Floch) #
Fans gather on a sand dune to watch the start of stage twelve of the Dakar Rally from Arequipa to Nasca, on January 13, 2012 in Nasca, Peru. (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) #
Erik Wevers, Dutch co-driver of the Mitsubishi driven by Fabian Lurquin, from Belgium, walks along the desert after their car got stuck in the sand during the 12th stage of the Dakar Rally between Arequipa and Nazca in Peru, on January 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia) #
Argentinian Lucio Ezequiel drives in the 2012 Dakar Rally Stage 13 Nasca-Pisco, in Peru, on January 14, 2012. (Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images) #
Toyota's driver Giniel De Villiers from South Africa and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz from Germany, compete in the 12th stage of the 2012 Dakar Rally, on Friday January 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia) #
Mini driver Stephane Peterhansel, of France, center, sprays a bottle of sparkling wine over team members at the 2012 Argentina-Chile-Peru Dakar Rally podium ceremony in Lima, Peru, Sunday January 15, 2012. The 46-year-old Peterhansel has won Dakar six times on motorbikes, and now four times in the car category. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia) #

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