Dakar Rally Racers Start Exhausting Trek

Thousands of spectators turned out to applaud on competitors in the 2011 Dakar Rally as the historic race got underway in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday.

The 15-day race will see 407 vehicles (of 430 original entries) board on a grueling 13 stages and attempt to cover a distance of 9,500 kilometers (5,900 miles), before crossing the finish line back in the Argentine capital on January 15.

A total of 140 cars, 170 motorbikes, 67 lorries and 30 quadbikes started stage one of the race from the Buenos Aires' Avenue of July 9. All competitors are heading northwest to Victoria, in the Argentine province of Entre Rios, 377 kilometer (234 miles) away.

The race will begin in earnest on Sunday with the second stage to Cordoba.

Racers will cross the border into Chile heading north towards the border with Peru previous to heading back south through the Andes mountains and on to the Atacama Desert.

From there, they will head east and back into Argentina for the closing stages of the race. Bookmark and Share