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The 2013 Dakar Rally

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Racers in the 34th annual Dakar Rally are nearing the finish line in Santiago, Chile. The winners are set to arrive on Sunday, January 20, after racing more than 8,500 km (5,280 mi) in 14 stages, across unforgiving territory in Peru, Argentina, and Chile. More than 450 teams are taking part, pitting themselves against the elements, driving specialized off-road cars, trucks, motorcycles, and quadbikes. Below, I've gathered some of the best images I could find of this year's race so far, and some of the challenges brought by recent heavy rainfall. [36 photos]

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Brazil's Youssef Haddad stands next to his Mitsubishi, stuck in a river during Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally 2013 between Salta and Tucuman, Argentina, on January 12, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)
Brazil's Youssef Haddad stands next to his Mitsubishi, stuck in a river during Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally 2013 between Salta and Tucuman, Argentina, on January 12, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)
A driver signs autographs to fans as he arrives to the podium during the departure ceremony of the fifth South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2013 in Lima, Peru, on January 5, 2013. (Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images) #
Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah drives his buggy during Stage 5 of the Dakar Rally 2013 between Arequipa and Arica, Chile, on January 9, 2013. (Frederic Le Floc'h/AFP/Getty Images) #
Spain's Joan 'Nani' Roma and co-pilot France's Michel Perin in their Mini during the 4th stage from Nazca to Arequipa, on January 8, 2013. (Reuters/Franck Fife) #
Honda's Biker Javier Pizzolito of Argentina competes during the Stage 2 of Dakar 2013 in Pisco, Peru, on January 6, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images) #
Russia's co-pilots Eduard Nikolaev, Sergey Savostin and Vladimir Rybakov in their Kamaz truck during the 4th stage of the Dakar Rally 2013 from Nazca to Arequipa, on January 8, 2013. (Reuters/Franck Fife) #
South Africa Riaan Van Niekerk in Stage 5 of the Dakar Rally, between Arequipa and Arica, Chile, on January 9, 2013. (Frederic Le Floc'h/AFP/Getty Images) #
Medics, helped by fans, evacuate Leonardo Martinez of Bolivia who was injured after crashing his quad in the 3rd stage from Pisco to Nazca, Peru, on January 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
Argentine co-driver Bernardo Graue, left, and driver Lucio Alvarez, inside the vehicle, try to free their pick-up stuck on a dune during the 6th stage of Dakar 2013 from Arica to Calama, Chile, on January 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
Ronan Chabot and co-driver Gilles Pillot, both of France, in Stage 3, from Pisco to Nazca, Peru, on January 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
The Iveco truck driven by Italians Miki Biasion and Humberto Fiori, and Michel Huisman, of the Netherlands, leads in front of Rene Kuipers, Peter Van Eerd, both of the Netherlands, and Moi Torrallardona of Spain, center, and Iveco truck drivers Jos Smink and Peter Nieuwenburg of the Netherlands, right, during the 11th stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally from La Rioja to Fiambala, Argentina, on January 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
A car passes the highlands of Chile en route to the Jama border crossing during the untimed 7th stage of the Dakar Rally from Calama to Salta, on January 11, 2013. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
The Netherlands' Henno Van Bergeijk, on the ground after falling during Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally 2013 between Pisco and Nazca, Peru, on January 7, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images) #
Robby Gordon of the U.S. in his Hummer during Stage 6 between Arica and Calama, Chile, on January 10, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images) #
Jincheng rider Guanghui Wei of China checks his feet at a refueling stop after the 8th stage of the Dakar Rally was canceled due to flash floods near Tucuman, Argentina, on January 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
A helicopter overflies Tucuman before Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally, in Argentina, on January 14, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images) #
Race2Recovery team member injured Afghanistan veteran Thomas Neathway of Britain climbs into his Land Rover during the technical verification exercise of the Dakar Rally 2013 at Magdalena beach in Lima, Peru, on January 3, 2013. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
A motorcyclist in the 4th stage of the Dakar Rally 2013 from Nazca to Arequipa, on January 8, 2013. (Reuters/Franck Fife) #
KTM rider Jorge Aguilar of Salvador tries to get out of a dune during the 6th stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally, on January 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
Lucio Alvarez and co-driver Ronnie Graue of team Toyota compete in stage 11 from La Rioja to Fiambala, on January 16, 2013, in La Rioja, Argentina. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) #
Dakar Director Etienne Lavigne (3rd from right) and Hummer #315's co-pilots Robby Gordon (2nd from right) and Kellon Walch (right) of the U.S., near their Hummer after it flipped during the 4th stage of the Dakar Rally from Nazca to Arequipa, on January 8, 2013. (Reuters/Franck Fife) #
KTM Ferdinand Kreidl of Austria kicks up dust on his way up a mountain during Stage 4 from Nazca to Arequipa, Peru, on January 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
France's Cyril Despres on his KTM motorcycle during the second stage of the Dakar Rally 2013, from Pisco to Pisco, on January 6, 2013. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
An alpaca crosses the road as drivers wait in their vehicles on the highlands of Chile en route to the Jama border crossing during the untimed 7th stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally from Calama to Salta, on January 11, 2013. (Reuters/Ivan Alvarado) #
A competitor reads his road book in Cachi after Stage 7 between Calama and Salta, Argentina, on January 11, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images) #
Jean Karl Atzert of Team Al Desert waits to start stage 6 from Arica to Calama, on January 10, 2013 in Arica, Chile. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) #
Spain's Jose Israel Borrell Gonzalez rides under storm clouds during Stage 8, between Salta and Tucuman, Argentina, on January 12, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images) #
Horses in a field gallop away from the sound of motorcycles competing in Stage 9 from Tucuman to Cordoba, Argentina, on January 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) #
France's Stephane Peterhansel and co-pilot Jean-Paul Cottret in their Mini during the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally from Cordoba to to La Rioja, on January 15, 2013. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Portugal's Ruben Faria on his KTM during Stage 10 from Cordoba to to La Rioja, on January 15, 2013. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Drivers stand on their cars after they were blocked by a flash flood during the 8th stage of the Dakar Rally from Salta to San Miguel de Tucuman, on January 12, 2013. (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen) #
Brazil's Guilherme Spinelli, stuck in a flooded river during Stage 8 between Salta and Tucuman, Argentina, on January 12, 2013. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images) #
Several cars stuck in a river following a flash flood during Stage 11 from La Rioja to Fiambala January 16, 2013. (Reuters) #
Pascal Larroque, co-driver of Pascal Thomasse, both of France, pulls their car with a cable from the bank of a river during Stage 11 from La Rioja to Fiambala, Argentina, on January 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Bertrand Metayer, Le Parisien) #
Dakar Rally Director Etienne Lavigne covers his face from sand kicked up by a helicopter lifting the motorcycle of Herve Thierry of France after it fell in the river during Stage 11, on January 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Bertrand Metayer, Le Parisien) #
Cyril Despres of KTM Red Bull Rally Factory Team competes in Stage 9 of the 2013 Dakar Rally, from Tucuman to Cordoba, on January 14 in Tucuman, Argentina. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) #

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