Dakar Rally 2012: The World’s Most Challenging Off-Road Endurance Race

The world’s most challenging off-road endurance race, the Dakar Rally 2012 is being contested by more than 350 entrants, racing motorcycles, quads, cars and trucks across more than 5,500 miles of mountains and desert, from Argentina’s Atlantic coast, through Chile to the Pacific coast of Peru.

The race, covering 14 stages, began January 1 and will conclude January 15 in Lima.

Click images to zoom and enjoy the real men!

Marc Coma of Spain races his KTM in the 10th stage. (Jerome Prevost/Associated Press)

Duncan Vos and co-driver Robert Howie, both from South Africa, drive their Toyota during the first stage, between Mar del Plata and Santa Rosa de la Pampa, Argentina on January 1. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

France’s biker Cyril Despres races his KTM in the first stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Driver Mark Corbett and co-driver Francois Jordaan, both from South Africa, race their Century Racing car past a burning Volvo during the first stage. The Volvo’s driver Alfie Cox, from South Africa, and co-driver Jurgen Schroder, from Germany, were not injured. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Opel’s driver Balazs Szalay and co-driver Laszlo Bunkoczi, both from Hungary, compete in the second stage between Santa Rosa de la Pampa and San Rafael in Argentina on January 2. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Hummer driver Nasser Al-Attiyah from Qatar and co-driver Cruz Luca from Spain compete in the second stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Mini’s driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret, both from France, compete in the second stage between Santa Rosa de la Pampa and San Rafael in Argentina. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Kamaz driver Andrey Karginov and co-driver Andrey Mokeev, both from Russia, compete in the truck category in the third stage between San Rafael and San Juan, Argentina on January 3. (Frederic Le Floch/Associated Press)

Toyota’s driver Abdulla Alheraiz and co-driver Khalid Ahmad, both of the United Arab Emirates, compete in the third stage. (Frederic Le Floch/Associated Press)

Hummer driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, from Qatar, and co-driver Cruz Luca, from Spain, compete in the third stage. (Philippe Desmazes/Associated Press)

Coma races during the fourth stage, between San Juan and Chilecito, Argentina. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

France’s biker Stephane Hamard picks up his KTM during the fourth stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

South Africa’s Darryl Curtis races his KTM in the fourth stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Argentina’s Alejandro Patronelli races his Yamaha quad in the fourth stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Toyota’s driver Giniel De Villiers, from South Africa, and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz, from Germany, try to push their car after it went off the road during the fifth stage. (Jerome Prevost/Associated Press)

Hummer’s driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, from Qatar, and co-driver Cruz Luca, from Spain, compete in the fifth stage. (Philippe Desmazes/Associated Press)

Mini’s driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret, both from France, compete in the fifth stage. (Jacky Naegelen/Associated Press)

Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues races his Yamaha as he competes in the fifth stage. (Jacky Naegelen/Associated Press)

Hummer’s driver Robby Gordon and co-driver Johnny Campbell, both from the U.S., compete in the fifth stage. (Jacky Naegelen/Associated Press)

Argentina’s Marcos Patronelli races his Yamaha quad as a helicopter flies over during the seventh stage through Copiapo, Chile on January 7. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Spain’s Marc Coma, right, and Cyril Despres of France race their KTM bikes during the seventh stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues races his Yamaha during the seventh stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

France’s Christophe Blondeau rides his Yamaha during the seventh stage. (Jacky Naegelen/Reuters)

Clothes hang from a truck used as a mobile garage at the base camp during the rest day. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Sergio La Fuente, from Uruguay, races his Yamaha quad during the eighth stage, at the Atacama desert between Copiapo and Antofagasta in Chile on January 9. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Mini’s driver Joan “Nani” Roma, from Spain, and co-driver Michel Perin, from France, compete in the eighth stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Argentina’s Demian Guiral races his Honda as he competes in the eighth stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

A worker of the Dakar Rally organization works on his computer at the rally camp during the eighth stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

France’s Cyril Despres checks his KTM during a stop in the eighth stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Hummer’s driver Robby Gordon and co-driver Johnny Campbell, both from the U.S., compete in the eighth stage. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Marcos Patronelli of Argentina races his Yamaha quad in the 9th stage, between Antofagasta and Iquique, Chile on January 10. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

Marc Coma of Spain races his KTM in the 10th stage, run between Iquique and Arica, Chile. (Jerome Prevost/Associated Press)

Christophe Blondeau of France, naps during a break in the 10th stage. (Jerome Prevost/Associated Press)

Joan Pedrero of Spain races his KTM in the 10th stage between Iquique and Arica, Chile. (Jerome Prevost/Associated Press)

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