Dakar Rally competitors get down and dirty in gruelling race

Cars, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and trucks are taking part in what's known as the world’s most challenging endurance race.

South American contest called the world's most challenging endurance trek

French driver Cyril Despres and co-driver David Castera punch their Peugeot through sand during Stage 6 of the 2016 Dakar Rally race on Jan. 8. (Franck Fife/AFP/Getty)

Cars, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and trucks are taking part in what's known as the world's most challenging endurance race.

Here's a look at some of the terrain and competitors as they navigate more than 9,000 kilometres through Argentina and Bolivia for the Dakar Rally, running from Jan. 3-16.

Dry, dusty terrain in southwest Bolivia

The race started in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before moving on to Bolivia. Spectators gathered Friday to watch as drivers reached Uyuni, the first city of the Bolivian stage.

Bolivian women and children watch the Netherland’s Erik Van Loon and co-driver Wouter Rosegaar in a Mini during the sixth stage of the rally in Uyuni, Bolivia. (Jorge Saenz/Associated Press)

Arid, awe-inspiring landscapes in Argentina...

Here, a Portuguese competitor races through Argentina's Juljuy province on Wednesday.

Ruben Faria of Portugal rides his Husqvarna during the fourth stage in Jujuy province, Argentina, on Jan. 6. (Franck Fife/Reuters)

After a not-so-dry commencement

During the short warm-up race on Jan 2, it was anything but dry. The times still count toward the final score, so drivers made the most of it. Torrential rains forced the cancellation of Stage 1 races the following day.

Santosh Shivashankar Chunchunguppe of India rides his Suzuki through the water during the Buenos Aires-Rosario prologue stage of the rally in Arrecifes, Argentina. (Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)

From feeling clean and rested

KTM rider Kobus Potgieter of South Africa gives a thumbs-up before the departure ceremony in Buenos Aires.

Potgieter donned a suit with the Superman logo to kick things off on Jan. 2. (Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)

As well as festive

Bolivia's Fabricio Fuentes rides his KTM from the podium during the departure ceremony in Buenos Aires on Jan. 2. (Enrique Marcarian/Reuters)

To being exhausted and covered in dirt

Spanish rally car driver Nani Roma won the Dakar Rally aboard a motorcycle in 2004 and won in the car category in 2014. He and his car are seen here last Monday covered in muck during a stop in Argentina.

Mini driver Nani Roma of Spain, left, reacts covered in mud next to co-pilot Alex Haro Bravo at the end of the second stage in the Dakar Rally in San Francisco, Argentina on Jan. 4. (Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)

Grinding it out

All-terrain vehicles are referred to as quads in the race. This one, driven by Eduardo Marcos Echamiz of Spain, plows through the dirt close to the Bolivian border on Thursday.

Eduardo Marcos Echamiz of Spain races his quad during the fifth stage of therally between the cities of Jujuy, Argentina, and Uyuni, Bolivia, on Jan. 7. (Juan Karita/Associated Press)



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