The Red Bull-sponsored 13-stage off-road endurance race has been held in South American countries Argentina, Boliva and Chile since 2009. The first race was held in 1979 in Paris, but was moved to South America due to political discord. After a delayed start due to bad weather, the seventh stage went underway today.
Carlos Sainz is the winner of today's car stage along with Joan Barreda celebrating a motorbike win.
The Dakar Rally is a 5,200-mile race separated into four groups-- motorcycles, quads, cars and trucks. Each high-powered vehicle is modified to handle the extreme speeds and rugged conditions, and cars and trucks each have a co-rider.
Before the Saturday rest day, the rally suffered three fatalities. NBC Sports tells us how motorcyclist Eric Palante never finished the fifth round Thursday, and was found on the route dead from undetermined causes. Friday also identified two bodies of a fan and motorcycle magazine writer following the race after their vehicle overturned in Argentina as Agustin Ignacio Mina and Daniel Eduardo.
While deaths are never expected or welcome at the Dakar Rally, they are also common. The extremely rough terrain often causes collisions involving participants and fans as they attempt to navigate the route.
The Dakar Rally ends on January 18th in Chile, and the eighth stage begins Monday. The Dakar Rally Twitter page provides frequent race updates, and its website provides riveting videos and pictures of the race.
Image via Twitter