Beauty and Violence at the Dakar Rally

Winning? Try surviving.

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

The Dakar Rally Raid isn’t so much an off-road race as a force of nature. The enduro charts its course through South America, this whirlwind of cars and trucks and buggies and motorcycles, tearing across terrain that’d give Edmund Hillary nightmares. Fourteen days. Thirteen stages. Fifty seven hundred miles. Taking on Dakar is kind of thing that’ll recalibrate your hierarchy of needs. Winning? Try surviving.

Today marks the midway point of this year’s rally. Team Peugeot Total is absolutely owning with its reworked 2008 DKR; thus far, the French squad has taken every one of Dakar’s seven proper stages. So the truck’s a beast. And Peugeot's newest driver, nine-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb, is no slouch, either. He’s the outright leader, with teammates Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz bringing up second and third place, respectively. But there aren’t any trophies for winning half a race.

There are, however, pictures. Loads of them. Dakar is a spectacle, as beautiful and violent as any competition on earth. Before the action starts up again tomorrow, enjoy this photographic retrospective.

One week down. One week to go.

FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
VI Images via Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images