Since January 6th, one of the world’s toughest races has seen bikes, quads, trucks and cars race across South America in a bid to write their name into the history books.
Starting in Lima, Peru, racing through Bolivia and finishing in Córdoba, Argentina, this year marked the 40th anniversary of the Dakar Rally. Stages can be as little as 31 km (19 miles), such as the first stage in 2018, right up to 927 km (576 miles), like the one that took competitors into Córdoba on the penultimate day of the race.
The rally has gained a reputation as one of the most dangerous motorsports in the world (70 people have died since the race was first held in 1978). It takes its name from the city in Senegal, which used to be the finish line (with Paris, France, as the start). It has since moved to South America after security problems in 2007, and the subsequent success of the event has led to South America cementing its status as the Dakar Rally home. Although the course changes each year, it always offers a mixture of terrains, with mountains, deserts and sand dunes all featuring.
This year saw legendary rally driver (and former two-time world champion) Carlos Sainz win his second Dakar Rally in the car category, eight years after his first title, while, in the truck category, Eduard Nikolaev won his fourth title – his second in a row after winning in 2017, also. The other winners were all first-time champions
Car: Carlos Sainz, Lucas Cruz (Spain); Team Peugeot Total
Bike: Matthias Walkner (Austria); Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Quad: Ignacio Casale (Chile); Casale Racing
Truck: Eduard Nikolaev, Evgeny Yakovlev, Vladimir Rybakov (Russia); Kamaz-Master
UTV (Utility vehicle): Reinaldo Varela, Gustavo Gugelmin (Brazil); South Racing-Can Am