Dakar Rally competitors get down and dirty in gruelling race
South American contest called the world's most challenging endurance trek
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.
Arid, awe-inspiring landscapes in Argentina...
Here, a Portuguese competitor races through Argentina's Juljuy province on Wednesday.
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.
From feeling clean and rested
KTM rider Kobus Potgieter of South Africa gives a thumbs-up before the departure ceremony in Buenos Aires.
As well as festive
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.
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.