Photo(s) of the Week 42

by Nathanael

The Dakar Rally 2011, incredible. Read what TIME says about it:

Because of political disturbances and security threats along the route of the famed Dakar Rally’s traditional route in Africa, the race has been runing in South America since 2009. Started in 1979, the race originally began in Paris, France and finished in Dakar, Senegal, but in its South American guise, it begins in Buenos Aires, on the Plaza de la Republica and runs through Patagonia, the Andes Mountains, along the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Chile and back to Argentina through the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.

Famed as the longest, most brutal off-road race in the world, the Dakar Rally is open to amateur and professional entries. Fifteen stages are driven over a two-week period. In 2011, 430 participants from 51 countries are competing in four classes: motorcycles, quad riders, car teams and truck teams. The rally takes place over 5500 miles where competitors will battle desert sands, high altitude and precarious mountain passes. Only 40 percent of the entrants typically make it to the finish line.