This legendary yearly adventure rally which originally started in 1978 with a route from Paris to Dakar is in its 33rd edition and for the third time in South America. The adrenaline packed race through remote desert regions takes place over 14 stages with participants from 50 countries and is viewed by over one billion people from all over the planet. The participants test their endurance and navigational skills while riding on motorcycles, in trucks, cars and quads in hopes of the win in their respective category.
Since security compromise in 2008 when the rally was cancelled due to murder of four French citizens and three Mauritanian militaries the famous race was moved the following year to Argentina and Chile. It was an enormous success from the start as nearly 3 million Argentine fans and 600 thousand Chilean counterparts watched the rally as it unfolded in 2009.
This year’s race started in Mar del Plata in Argentina and wound its way northwest to Chile. After 7 stages so far, today the competitors rested in Copiapo in the Atacama Desert of Chile. There are seven more days until the race ends in Lima on January 15th.
Each year, the organizers try to do their good by offsetting the carbon emissions, help out the local communities and non-profit organizations and of course contribute to the local economies. This year a U$D140,000 check was written to an organization called Un Techo Para Mi Pais which provides homes to the underprivileged all over South America. The rally also brings an economic windfall to the communities which are on the route.
All images are from the official site of Dakar 2012 where you can see photos, updates and live feeds from each stage.