Desert race

Desert race

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The Dakar Rally started out as a gruelling off-road race from Paris to Dakar across the Sahara desert. Following security threats in Mauritania in 2008, it has been held in South America for the last six years, but it keeps its old name and its reputation as a fierce test of endurance.

Competitors in 2014 drove through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, passing through stark and beautiful desert landscapes to finish in Valparaiso on January 18.

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Slideshow

A local drives his quad bike across the Uyuni salt lake before the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally.
. UYUNI, Bolivia. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

A local drives his quad bike across the Uyuni salt lake before the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally.

The sun sets over the salt flats, which lie along the race’s route.
. UYUNI, Bolivia. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

The sun sets over the salt flats, which lie along the race’s route.

Tourists stand on the salt lake before the seventh stage of the race.
. UYUNI, Bolivia. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Tourists stand on the salt lake before the seventh stage of the race.

Clouds hover over the Uyuni salt flats.
. UYUNI, Bolivia. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Clouds hover over the Uyuni salt flats.

Race officials examine a map during the eighth stage of the competition.
. UYUNI, Bolivia. REUTERS/David Mercado

Race officials examine a map during the eighth stage of the competition.

Christian Lavieille of France sends dust flying as he drives his Haval during the sixth stage of the rally from Tucuman to Salta in Argentina.
. SALTA, Argentina. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Christian Lavieille of France sends dust flying as he drives his Haval during the sixth stage of the rally from Tucuman to Salta in Argentina.

Russia’s Andrey Karginov drives his Kamaz truck during the 11th leg of the race.
. EL SALVADOR, Chile. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Russia’s Andrey Karginov drives his Kamaz truck during the 11th leg of the race.

France's Stephane Peterhansel drives his Mini across the desert from Calama to Iquique in Chile.
. IQUIQUE, Chile. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

France's Stephane Peterhansel drives his Mini across the desert from Calama to Iquique in Chile.

Olivier Pain, also of France, rides a Yamaha motorcycle during the ninth stage of the event.
. IQUIQUE, Chile. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Olivier Pain, also of France, rides a Yamaha motorcycle during the ninth stage of the event.

Dakar Rally director Etienne Lavigne (left) turns away from the cloud of dust kicked up by KTM rider Riaan Van Niekerk of South Africa.
. TUCUMAN, Argentina. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Dakar Rally director Etienne Lavigne (left) turns away from the cloud of dust kicked up by KTM rider Riaan Van Niekerk of South Africa.

Niekerk rides his bike during the ninth stage of the rally from Calama to Iquique.
. IQUIQUE, Chile. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Niekerk rides his bike during the ninth stage of the rally from Calama to Iquique.

Paulo Goncalves of Portugal covers his face as he kneels in front of his burning Honda during the fifth stage of the race.
. TUCUMAN, Argentina. REUTERS/Stringer

Paulo Goncalves of Portugal covers his face as he kneels in front of his burning Honda during the fifth stage of the race.