In Pictures: The Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally, considered one of the most dangerous races in motor sports, traces a route across the South American continent, over the Andes and through the Atacama desert to the Pacific coast in the Peruvian capital of Lima [GALLO/GETTY];*;This is the fourth consecutive year the event is being held in South America. The rally was held in Europe and Africa until the 2008 race was cancelled because of fears of terrorism. It was moved to South America the next year [EPA];*;Cars, motorbikes, quads and trucks set off from the Atlantic coastal city of Mar Del Plata for the 33rd edition of the race, with the finish 5,500 miles away on the Pacific coast in Peru [EPA];*; Heading the list of 466 intrepid adventurers is Qatari Nasser Al Attiyah, the 2011 champion who was disqualified in 2009 and missed out on victory in 2010. Last year Al Attiyah won with a Volkswagen. This year he(***)s driving a Hummer [GALLO/GETTY];*;And as a side hobby, Al Attiyah is also hoping to compete for his country in shooting in his third Olympic Games in London [GALLO/GETTY;*;The Dakar Rally has already claimed three lives this year. Argentine bike rider Jorge Martinez Boero died in a crash in the first stage. On the same day, the pilot of an ultralight plane and his son died when the aircraft went down while following the race [GALLO/GETTY];*;Marc Coma, the reigning Dakar bike champion, is back to defend his crown and aim for what would be a fourth title after his previous wins in 2006 and 2009 [GALLO/GETTY];*;At 71 years of age France(***)s Claudio Regunaschi is the oldest competitor in this year(***)s edition, with 20-year-old Argentine bike rider Lucas Bonetto the youngest. Amateurs make up 80 percent of the 2012 Dakar competitors(***) list. [GALLO/GETTY];*;The hardest day(***)s racing is arguably the daunting 276km 12th stage, from Nasca to Pisco in Peru. "From the time the rally enters Chile to its arrival in Lima we have 7-8 stages of pure desert, sand, dunes, with the stages in Peru promising to be exceptional," said race director Etienne Lavigne [GALLO/GETTY]
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