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January 12, 2009

The 2009 Dakar Rally

The Dakar Rally was traditionally an off-road multi-stage race from Paris to Dakar, Senegal. However, due to fears of terrorist attacks, the Rally was cancelled last year - and this year moved to an entirely different continent, South America. 540 teams started the 2009 Dakar Rally in Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 3rd, and, after 9,578 kilometres (5,951 mi) in 14 stages, will return to Buenos Aires on January 17th. Back in France, a small group of die-hard African Rally fans decided to stage their own version of the Dakar, folllowing the traditional route despite any terrorist threat, and have dubbed their version the "Africa Race", and 27 drivers started out from Marseille, France on December 28th. Here are some photographs of the official Dakar Rally (in South America), and a few of its shadow competition, the Africa Race. (30 photos total)

Carlos Sainz of Spain drives his Volkswagen during the 8th stage of the Dakar 2009, between Valparaiso and La Serena, Chile. Carlos Sainz won the stage and kept the lead in the race. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Cyril Despres of France, during the refueling of his KTM during the 8th stage of the Dakar 2009, between Valparaiso and La Serena, Chile, on January 11, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Robbyn Gordon of the US in his Hummer during the 8th stage of the Dakar 2009, between Valparaiso and La Serena, Chile on January 11, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Laurent Casters jumps his bike during the eleventh stage between Idini and Saint-Louis (419 kilometers) of the first edition of the Africa Race, on January 10, 2009. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

View of the clouds near the Andes before the start of the 8th stage of the Dakar 2009, between Valparaiso and La Serena, Chile on January 11, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Italian Giacomo Vismara in his Unimog in the 797-kilometer fourth stage of first edition of the Africa Race, on January 02, 2009. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Cyril Despres of France steers his KTM during the 8th stage of the Dakar 2009, between Valparaiso and La Serena, Chile on January 11, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Mitsubishi driver Stephane Peterhansel, of France, seen during the 3rd stage of the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 between Puerto Madryn and Ingeniero Jacobacci, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

Gerard Farres Guell of Spain on his KTM during the fourth stage of the 2009 Dakar between Jacobacci and Neuquen, Argentina on January 6, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Russia's Leonid Novitskiy and co-driver Oleg Tyupenkin in their BMW after the start of the South American edition of the Dakar 2009 in Saladillo, 180 kilometers south-west of Buenos Aires, January 3, 2009. (REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian) #

Motorcycle rider Thibault Lormand of France lies on the ground as a car passes him during the first stage of the 2009 Dakar Rally between Buenos Aires and Santa Rosa de la Pampa on January 3, 2009. Lormand fell during the stage and was later evacuated and is now out of the race. (CHRISTOPHE ENA/AFP/Getty Images) #

KTM rider David Casteu, of France, competes during the first stage of the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 between Buenos Aires and Santa Rosa de la Pampa, Argentina, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Gabriel Bouys, Pool) #

Mathieu Serradori of France passes by a family of waterfowl on his Beta during the fifth stage of the 2009 Dakar between Neuquen and San Rafael, Argentina on January 7, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

French Jean-Louis Schlesser is seen in his Schlesser buggy during the eleventh stage between Idini and Saint-Louis (419 kilometers) of the first edition of the Africa Race, on January 10, 2009. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Carlos Sainz of Spain works to keep his Volkswagen on the track during the fourth stage of the 2009 Dakar between Jacobacci and Neuquen, Argentina, on January 6, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Robby Gordon of the US catches some air in his Hummer during the sixth stage of the 2009 Dakar rally between San Rafael and Mendoza, Argentina, on January 8, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

France's David Casteu reacts after being stung by a bee during the 3rd stage of the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 between Puerto Madryn and Ingeniero Jacobacci, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

KTM rider Marc Coma of Spain seen during the 6th stage of the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 between San Rafael and Mendoza, Argentina, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

France's Eric Vigouroux and his Hummer are briefly shrouded in dust during the 2nd stage of the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 between Santa Rosa de la Pampa and Puerto Madryn, Argentina, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

Two riders pass over a dune during the sixth stage of the 2009 Dakar between San Rafael and Mendoza, January 08, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Spaniard Juan Manuel Pellicer rides his BMW during the Seventh stage between El Ayoun and Bou Lanouar (899 kilometers) in the first edition of the Africa Race, on January 06, 2009. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Under a rainbow, mechanics work on a bike after the 5th stage of the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 between Neuquen and San Rafael, Argentina, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

A general view of the Dakar encampment on a rest day during the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 in Valparaiso, Chile, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

The interior of Spain's Nani Roma's Mitsubishi is seen as a mechanic works on it on January 10, 2009 in Valparaiso, Chile at the end of its 7th stage between Mendoza, Argentina and Valparaiso. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

French rider Pascal Gilbert speaks on a phone in this January 4, 2009 file photo. Gilbert's friend and teammate Pascal Terry was found dead on the route of the Dakar rally, organisers said January 7, 2009. Terry, 49, had been missing since Sunday's second stage, and was discovered to have died from a pulmonary edema. (REUTERS/Stringer/Files) #

Qatar's Saleh Nasser Al Attiyah and co-driver Tina Thorner with BMW driving the 488 kilometres (303 miles) of the fourth stage of the South American edition of the Dakar 2009 from Ingeniero Jacobacci to Neuquen, in the Argentina's Patagonian Villa El Chocon, January 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Yamil Regules) #

Marc Coma of Spain rides his KTM during the sixth stage of the 2009 Dakar rally between San Rafael and Mendoza, Argentina, on January 8, 2009. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Volkswagen driver Mark Miller of U.S. during the 8th stage of the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 between Valparaiso and La Serena, Chile, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

KTM rider Luc Pagnon of France crosses a stream during the 3rd stage of the Argentina Dakar Rally 2009 between Puerto Madryn and Ingeneiro Jacobacci, Argentina, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) #

Spain's Marc Coma on his KTM during the sixth stage of the Dakar 2009 from San Rafael to Mendoza, January 8, 2009. (REUTERS/Paulo Paez (ARGENTINA) #

 
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