The world's most famous rally raid, the Dakar Rally, has drawn huge crowds to its ceremonial start in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
A total of 362 competitors are tackling this year's event, which comprises a 5,900-mile loop through Argentina and Chile before finishing back in Buenos Aires on Jan. 16. The event moved away from Africa last year due to concerns over political instability in North Africa, and organizers kept it in South America in 2010.
Organizers estimate that around half a million people lined the streets to watch the ceremonial start, even though the race teams – 134 cars, 151 motorcycles, 52 trucks and 25 quad-bikes – were not running in competition.
The first competitive section, a 425-mile run from Colon to Cordoba, is now under way. The fight for victory in the car section is likely to involve former winner Stephane Peterhansel, driving a BMW X3, and a strong lineup from 2009 victor Volkswagen. Its team includes names such as Giniel de Villiers and Carlos Sainz. Robby Gordon is also back with his team of Hummers.Source: Autocar