Dakar Rally 2011

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- The Dakar Rally roared out of Buenos Aires with a ceremonial parade of hundreds of vehicles departing from its famed Obelisk on Saturday, Jan. 1. The 16-day trek takes drivers 5,903 miles across northern Argentina, through the Andes, the Atacama Desert of Chile and back to the Argentine capital. Officials listed a record 430 official starters, up from the 362 who were enrolled last year. The actual number starting the race is always lower. This year's route goes northwest from Buenos Aires, with the racers crossing into Chile. Racers then head north through the Atacama Desert then to the Arica in the far north of Chile, on the border with Peru. The race then turns south and crosses back into Argentina on Jan. 12. It ends on Jan. 16 in Buenos Aires. The rally was always held in Europe and Africa until the 2008 race was canceled because of fears of terrorism. It was moved to South America the next year. The rally is run in the middle of the South American summer, a highlight for school children on vacation. [43 Shots]

Dakar Rally 2011
1. Chile's biker Francisco Lopez Contardo rides his Arpilia during the stage 6 Iquique-Arica of the 2011 Dakar Rally, in Chile, on January 7, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
2. Spain's driver Carlos Sainz steers his Volkswagen with co-driver Lucas Cruz on the podium during the symbolic start of the Dakar 2011 Rally in downtown Buenos Aires on January 1, 2011. The Dakar 2011 Rally will take place in Argentina and Chile from January 1 to 16. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
3. Volkswagen's Nasser Al-Attiyah, from Qatar, and co-driver Timo Gottschalk, from Germany, compete during the first stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Victoria and Cordoba, Argentina, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
4. Czech Republic's Martin Plechaty rides his Yamaha quad during the first stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Victoria and Cordoba, Argentina, Sunday Jan. 2, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
5. BMW car driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret, both from France, compete during the second stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Cordoba and San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
6. Biker Yannick Guyomarch, from France, rides his KTM motorcycle as people watch during the second stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Cordoba and San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
7. Children wave as a biker competes during the second stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Cordoba and San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
8. Biker Giulio Napoli, from Italy, rides his Beta motorcycle during the second stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Cordoba and San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
9. Volkswagen's driver Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz, both from Spain, compete during the second stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Cordoba and San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
10. Qatar's driver Nasser Al-Attiyah steers his Volkswagen with German co-driver Timo Gottschalk on January 3, 2011 on the stage 2 Cordoba-Tucuman of the 2011 Dakar Rally. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
11. Mitsubishi's driver Guilherme Spinelli and co-driver Youssef Haddad, both from Brazil, compete during the fourth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Jujuy, Argentina, and Calama, Chile, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
12. Argentina's Jose Antonio Blangino rides his CAN-AM quad during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica, Chile, Friday Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
13. MAN's driver Richard Gonzalez and co-driver Raphael Gimbre, from France, sit beside their truck after it overturned during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
14. Giofil Aprillia's Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez, from Chile, front, rides his motorcycle followed by Red Bull KTM's Cyril Despres, from France, during the fifth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Calama and Iquique in Chile, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
15. Volkswagen's driver Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz, both from Spain, front, followed by Volkswagen's Nasser Al-Attiyah, from Qatar, and co-driver Timo Gottschalk, from Germany, compete during the fifth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Calama and Iquique in Chile, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
16. Fans watch as Volkswagen's driver Mark Miller, from U.S. and co-driver Ralph Pitchford, from South Africa, compete during the 9th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
17. Volkswagen's driver Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz, both from Spain, compete during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
18. Spain's driver Carlos Sainz steers his Volkswagen with co-driver Lucas Cruz, during the stage 6 Iquique-Arica of the 2011 Dakar Rally, in Chile, on January 7, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
19. The shadow of a helicopter is seen near parked vehicles after the fourth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Jujuy, Argentina, and Calama, Chile, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
20. Volkswagen's driver Giniel De Villiers, from South Africa, and co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz, from Germany, compete in the third stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between San Miguel de Tucuman and Jujuy, Argentina, Tuesday Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Stephane Mantey

Dakar Rally 2011
21. Followed by a TV helicopter, Volkswagen's Nasser Al-Attiyah, of Qatar, and co-driver Timo Gottschalk, from Germany, race in the eighth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Antofagasta and Copiapo, Chile, Monday Jan. 10, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
22. Paulo Goncalves of Portugal races his BMW in the seventh stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Arica and Antofagasta, Chile, Sunday Jan. 9, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
23. France's Bruno Da Costa races his Yamaha bike, right, and Argentina's racer Sebastian Halpern races his Yamaha quad in the third stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between San Miguel de Tucuman and Jujuy, Argentina, Tuesday Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
24. Michael Pisano of France rides his Honda in the third stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between San Miguel de Tucuman and Jujuy, Argentina, Tuesday Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Stephane Mantey

Dakar Rally 2011
25. People watch Argentina's Alejandro Patronelli race his Yamaha quad in the third stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between San Miguel de Tucuman and Jujuy, Argentina, Tuesday Jan. 4, 2011. AP / Eric Gaillard

Dakar Rally 2011
26. France's driver Guerlain Chicherit steers his BMW with co-driver Michel Perin, during the stage 6 Iquique-Arica of the 2011 Dakar Rally, in Chile, on January 7, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
27. Spain's driver Carlos Sainz steers his Volkswagen with co-driver Lucas Cruz on the stage 8 Atacama - Copiapo of the Dakar 2011 Rally. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
28. Spain's driver Carlos Sainz steers his Volkswagen with co-driver Lucas Cruz during stage 5 Calama-Iquique of the 2011 Dakar Rally in the province of Tarapaca, northern Chile on January 6, 2011. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
29. Motorcycles and quads competitors are seen from an helicopter during the start of the 9th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
30. Cristophe Geoffroy of France races his Honda in the seventh stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Arica and Antofagasta, Chile, Sunday Jan. 9, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
31. U.S. biker Quinn Alexis Cody races his Honda in the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
32. Helder Rodrigues of Portugal races his Yamaha in the seventh stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Arica and Antofagasta, Chile, Sunday Jan. 9, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
33. KTM MRW Rally Factory's Juan Pedrero Garcia rides is motorcycle during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
34. Slovakia's biker Ivan Jakes races his KTM in the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica, Chile, Friday Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
35. KTM MRW Rally Factory's Marc Coma, from Spain, rides his motorcycle during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
36. KTM MRW Rally Factory's Marc Coma, from Spain, rides his motorcycle during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
37. BMW car driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret, both from France, compete during the 9th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
38. Kamaz' driver Firdaus Kabirov and co-driver Aydar Belayaev, both from Russia, compete during the sixth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Iquique and Arica in Chile, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
39. View of the tent of massages after the end of the Dakar 2011 Rally fifth stage between Calama and Iquique on January 6, 2010, in Iquique, Chile. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
40. Kamaz team masseur Bolat tends to driver Artur Ardavichus, both of Russia, at the camp at the conclusion of the 9th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally in Copiapo, Chile, AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
41. Mechanics work on the Yamaha of Italy's biker Antonio Cabini after the end of stage 5 Calama-Iquique of the 2011 Dakar Rally, in Iquique camp, northern Chile on January 6, 2010. AFP/ Getty Images / Daniel Garcia

Dakar Rally 2011
42. Bowler co-driver Paul Vidal, of France, looks over maps at the Dakar camp in Calama after the fourth stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Jujuy, Argentina, and Calama, Chile, Wednesday Jan. 5, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

Dakar Rally 2011
43. People wash their faces at the Dakar camp before the start of the 10th stage of the 2011 Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally between Copiapo, Chile and Chilecito, Argentina, Wednesday Jan. 12, 2011. AP / Natacha Pisarenko

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