The Dakar Rally is a challenging weeks-long off-road race that snakes its way through the shifting landscape of South America. It is also one of the most dangerous sporting events in the world,—dozens of competitors, journalists and spectators have died during the rally. Though the race does offer some prize money to the tune of $50,000, the bigger incentive for the hundreds of competitors is a chance for
lucrative sponsorship deal with companies. The race originally took place between Paris, France and Dakar, Senegal, but due to security concerns in the region, it moved to South America ten years ago.
The race route changes from year to year. Photos from the past few years show the sheer variety of landscapes—racers navigate their off-road cars, trucks, and motorcycles through mountains, salt flats, marshes, and dunes. This year, the race is taking place entirely in Peru.
Rider Jakub Przygonski of Poland rides during the 2nd stage of the Dakar Rally 2015, from Villa Carlos Paz, Argenina to San Juan in 2015. Cyril Despres of France and co-pilot David Castera of France driving betwen La Paz to Uyuni, Bolivia in 2018. Joan Barreda Bort of Spain drives over sand dunes in Peru in 2018.
Competitors drive on the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia in 2015.
Racers on the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in 2015.
A competitor rides during the 9th stage of the Dakar Rally 2015 from Iquique to Calama, Chile in 2015. Federico Villagra drives through the desert during the first stage from Lima to Pisco, Peru on Jan. 7, 2019 Gerard de Rooy and co-driver Darek Rodewald drive through the desert during the first stage between Lima and Pisco, Peru on Jan 7, 2019. Driver Carlos Sanz and co-driver Lucas Cruz in action from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona, Peru on Jan. 8, 2019 Peugeot’s driver Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena of France’s driving between Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta on Jan. 10, 2017. A driver passed through the desert between from Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina in 2017. Gerard Farres Guell of Spain rides between Chilecito to San Juan Argentina in 2017. Adrien Van Beveren (bottom) of France rides his Yamaha alongside Juan Pedrero Garcia of Spain on his Sherco TVS during the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally 2016 near Belen, Argentina in 2016. Giniel De Villiers of South Africa and co-pilot Dirk Von Zitzewitz of Germany drive their Toyota from La Paz to Uyuni in 2018. Diego Martin Duplessis of Argentina drives his motorcycle past llamas in Peru in 2018. Racers pass through mud in Peru in 2018.
Kevin Benavides of Argentina drives from Uyuni, Peru to Tupiza, Bolivia in 2018. A racer in a white sand desert in Argentina in 2018. Racers pass through a muddy riverbed in Argentina in 2018. Mikko Hirvonen of Finland and co-pilot Andreas Schulz of Germany drive their Mini through Argentina in 2018. Leeroy Poulter of France drives through Cordoba province, Argentina in 2016. Pablo Quintanilla of Chile rides his motorcycle through Tucuman province, Argentina in 2016. A rider competes during the sixth stage in the Dakar Rally 2016 near Uyuni, Bolivia in 2016. Toby Price of Australia rides near Uyuni, Bolivia in 2016. Nani Roma of Spain drives his Mini near San Juan, Argentina in 2016. Ronan Chabot of France drives his Toyota during the seventh stage in the Dakar Rally 2016 near Uyuni, Bolivia in 2016. Helder Rodrigues of Portugal rides his Yamaha during the seventh stage in the Dakar Rally in Uyuni, Bolivia in 2016.