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Torture test: Spectacular photos from the 2018 Dakar Rally

Torture test: Spectacular phot...
Loeb and Elena's Peugeot carves a fresh path through surreal sand dunes on the 2018 Dakar Rally
Loeb and Elena's Peugeot carves a fresh path through surreal sand dunes on the 2018 Dakar Rally
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Before the storm: motorcycles lined up for scrutineering in Lima, Peru
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Before the storm: motorcycles lined up for scrutineering in Lima, Peru
Before the storm: quad bikes
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Before the storm: quad bikes
Team trucks at Le Havre, France, waiting to board the boat to Peru
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Team trucks at Le Havre, France, waiting to board the boat to Peru
Barreda Bort Joen teaches his Honda to fly during Stage 1
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Barreda Bort Joen teaches his Honda to fly during Stage 1
Al-Attiyah Nasser of Qatar proves a Toyota Hilux can fly too
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Al-Attiyah Nasser of Qatar proves a Toyota Hilux can fly too
Trucks #510, a Czech team, and #511 from Japan do battle in the Peruvian desert during Stage 2
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Trucks #510, a Czech team, and #511 from Japan do battle in the Peruvian desert during Stage 2
The Peugeot car of  13-times champion Stephane "Mr. Dakar" Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret carves through well-worn sand. Peterhansel would eventually fail to finish after crashing into a tree, thoroughly in contention for a 14th win. This may be his last Dakar
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The Peugeot car of  13-times champion Stephane "Mr. Dakar" Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret carves through well-worn sand. Peterhansel would eventually fail to finish after crashing into a tree, thoroughly in contention for a 14th win. This may be his last Dakar
Aerial footage is always a highlight of the Dakar. Here, a chopper follows Van Beveren's Yamaha across the desert landcsape
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Aerial footage is always a highlight of the Dakar. Here, a chopper follows Van Beveren's Yamaha across the desert landcsape
A Yamaha quad rider attacks the sand
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A Yamaha quad rider attacks the sand
Stuck the landing... Ford's Marco Bulacia and Eugenio Arrieta get a good look at the sand
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Stuck the landing... Ford's Marco Bulacia and Eugenio Arrieta get a good look at the sand
Stage 3 out of Pisco took drivers across beautifully cracked mud flats – here's the Uribe brothers in their Can-Am side-by-side
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Stage 3 out of Pisco took drivers across beautifully cracked mud flats – here's the Uribe brothers in their Can-Am side-by-side
Tragic endings are all too common in the Dakar. Here Alicia Reina and Carlos Pelayo's Toyota burns in the desert – neither team member was injured
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Tragic endings are all too common in the Dakar. Here Alicia Reina and Carlos Pelayo's Toyota burns in the desert – neither team member was injured
Four-time Dakar motorcycle champion Cyril Despres and his partner David Castera struggle with a major mechanical setback
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Four-time Dakar motorcycle champion Cyril Despres and his partner David Castera struggle with a major mechanical setback
Sebastien Souday of France enjoys a bit of an ocean breeze aboard his Yamaha quad bike during Stage 4
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Sebastien Souday of France enjoys a bit of an ocean breeze aboard his Yamaha quad bike during Stage 4
Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena styling out by the seaside during Stage 4
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Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena styling out by the seaside during Stage 4
The Russian team of Shibalov, Nikitin and Romanov give us a peek at the underside of their giant Kamaz truck
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The Russian team of Shibalov, Nikitin and Romanov give us a peek at the underside of their giant Kamaz truck
A frighteningly close wide-angle portrait of Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk's Mini cresting a hill; Dakar photography is not for the timid
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A frighteningly close wide-angle portrait of Al-Rajhi and Gottschalk's Mini cresting a hill; Dakar photography is not for the timid
America's Ricky Brabec shows how you keep your tires clean in the desert during Stage 5
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America's Ricky Brabec shows how you keep your tires clean in the desert during Stage 5
The terrain is unrelenting for Loeb and Elena as they push their Peugeot through Stage 5
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The terrain is unrelenting for Loeb and Elena as they push their Peugeot through Stage 5
Anguish for Loeb and Elena as a desert crash leaves them stuck
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Anguish for Loeb and Elena as a desert crash leaves them stuck
Loeb and Elena's Peugeot carves a fresh path through surreal sand dunes on the 2018 Dakar Rally
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Loeb and Elena's Peugeot carves a fresh path through surreal sand dunes on the 2018 Dakar Rally
Xavier de Soultrait styles it up for the camera-copter in a shot he'll be showing his grand-kids
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Xavier de Soultrait styles it up for the camera-copter in a shot he'll be showing his grand-kids
The sheer size, power and weight of the rally trucks boggles the mind as the Ardavichus/Iveco team smashes through the sand
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The sheer size, power and weight of the rally trucks boggles the mind as the Ardavichus/Iveco team smashes through the sand
Opportunities for a wash are limited; here Peterhansel and Cottret's Peugeot gets a high-pressure hose down thanks to a river crossing
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Opportunities for a wash are limited; here Peterhansel and Cottret's Peugeot gets a high-pressure hose down thanks to a river crossing
Civilization, as Stage 6 brings the racers to La Paz, Bolivia
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Civilization, as Stage 6 brings the racers to La Paz, Bolivia
Peruvian Eduardo Heinrich waves to the crowd as he nears the end of 758 km of Stage 6
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Peruvian Eduardo Heinrich waves to the crowd as he nears the end of 758 km of Stage 6
No time to enjoy the spectacular scenery as a rider approaches La Paz, Bolivia
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No time to enjoy the spectacular scenery as a rider approaches La Paz, Bolivia
A sight for very sore eyes as a Bolivian woman welcomes Sherco's Garcia Juan Pedrero
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A sight for very sore eyes as a Bolivian woman welcomes Sherco's Garcia Juan Pedrero
Rest day for riders is game time for mechanics
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Rest day for riders is game time for mechanics
The logistical effort that goes into putting together a Dakar tilt is immense
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The logistical effort that goes into putting together a Dakar tilt is immense
The furious action begins again for Stage 8, as Argentina's Diego Martin Duplessis wheelies his Honda through the Bolivian scrub
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The furious action begins again for Stage 8, as Argentina's Diego Martin Duplessis wheelies his Honda through the Bolivian scrub
The Uribe brothers' Can-Am side-by-side is looking quite second-hand by the middle of Stage 8
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The Uribe brothers' Can-Am side-by-side is looking quite second-hand by the middle of Stage 8
Riders enjoy a brief bit of flat tarmac as the rally enters Argentina for Stage 9
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Riders enjoy a brief bit of flat tarmac as the rally enters Argentina for Stage 9
Extraordinary landscapes for the transport stage into Argentina
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Extraordinary landscapes for the transport stage into Argentina
Mini drivers Jakub Przygonski and Tom Colsoul, beached as against a beautiful Andes mountains backdrop
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Mini drivers Jakub Przygonski and Tom Colsoul, beached as against a beautiful Andes mountains backdrop
Argentinian Honda rider Kevin Benavides wheelies through his home turf in stage 10, with the magnificent Andes providing the backdrop
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Argentinian Honda rider Kevin Benavides wheelies through his home turf in stage 10, with the magnificent Andes providing the backdrop
Some of the flying is as sketchy as the driving
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Some of the flying is as sketchy as the driving
Ignacio Casale and other quad racers tear through the Stage 10 terrain
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Ignacio Casale and other quad racers tear through the Stage 10 terrain
Hard work, all the time. Dimitry Sotnikov, Ruslan Akhmadeev and Ilnur Mustafin find their Kamaz truck at a confronting angle during Stage 10
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Hard work, all the time. Dimitry Sotnikov, Ruslan Akhmadeev and Ilnur Mustafin find their Kamaz truck at a confronting angle during Stage 10
Spectators cheer on a Toyota team close to the completion of the 795-km Stage 10
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Spectators cheer on a Toyota team close to the completion of the 795-km Stage 10
Motorcycle winner Matthias Walkner pauses for a portrait against the rising sun
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Motorcycle winner Matthias Walkner pauses for a portrait against the rising sun
Where else but the Dakar? A gently levitating Red Bull Kamaz truck.
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Where else but the Dakar? A gently levitating Red Bull Kamaz truck.
Local transport vs. Dakar style as Nijen of the Netherlands takes his Can-Am quad through Stage 11
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Local transport vs. Dakar style as Nijen of the Netherlands takes his Can-Am quad through Stage 11
Boris Garafulic and Filipe Palmeiro making a huge splash with their Mini, but a tiny and very temporary disturbance to the giant landscape behind them
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Boris Garafulic and Filipe Palmeiro making a huge splash with their Mini, but a tiny and very temporary disturbance to the giant landscape behind them
The blistered, bandaged hands of Peugeot's Sheikh Khalid A-Qassimi after Stage 12
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The blistered, bandaged hands of Peugeot's Sheikh Khalid A-Qassimi after Stage 12
In honor of the soil sent skyward during Dakar 2018
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In honor of the soil sent skyward during Dakar 2018
Jan Vesely, on a KTM, finds himself racing side by side with the Toyota of Philippe Raud and Patrice Saint Marc
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Jan Vesely, on a KTM, finds himself racing side by side with the Toyota of Philippe Raud and Patrice Saint Marc
KTM's Matthias Walkner demonstrating the form that would win him the Dakar for 2018. 
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KTM's Matthias Walkner demonstrating the form that would win him the Dakar for 2018. 
Peugeot's Peterhansel and Cottret pick a spot for a river crossing
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Peugeot's Peterhansel and Cottret pick a spot for a river crossing
To hell and back: why do these men and women do this to themselves?
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To hell and back: why do these men and women do this to themselves?
Perhaps for this moment. Matthias Walkner completes the Dakar, wheelying for the crowd as he takes first place motorcycle overall
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Perhaps for this moment. Matthias Walkner completes the Dakar, wheelying for the crowd as he takes first place motorcycle overall
Winning Kamaz truck driver Edouard Nikolaev tries a different way of getting airborne
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Winning Kamaz truck driver Edouard Nikolaev tries a different way of getting airborne
Chile's Ignacio Casale celebrates winning the quad bike division for Yamaha, with a slightly worried new friend riding pillion
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Chile's Ignacio Casale celebrates winning the quad bike division for Yamaha, with a slightly worried new friend riding pillion
Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz celebrate their hard-fought win in the car division
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Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz celebrate their hard-fought win in the car division
The party is just starting for Brazilian Can-Am team Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin, winners of the side-by-side division
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The party is just starting for Brazilian Can-Am team Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin, winners of the side-by-side division

The 40th Dakar Rally (and the 10th to be run on the opposite side of the world from Dakar itself) has been run and won for 2018. Leaving from Lima, Peru, looping down through Bolivia and finishing in Cordoba, Argentina, a collection of remarkable human beings and outrageously extreme equipment was put through a brutal torture test across sand dunes, salt flats, and the magnificent Southern Andes mountain ranges in pursuit of the ultimate endurance adventure.

And the Rally is not just a test of man and machine; the logistical effort and preparation that goes into such an extreme event is monstrous. Not to mention the concentration of mechanical expertise that needs to follow this circus down the west side of South America.

Xavier de Soultrait styles it up for the camera-copter in a shot he'll be showing his grand-kids
Xavier de Soultrait styles it up for the camera-copter in a shot he'll be showing his grand-kids

Over 330 vehicles started the race this year, in categories representing motorcycles, quad bikes, side-by-sides, cars and the giant rally trucks. Only 185 of these, or 55 percent, managed to finish, and every one of these teams has notched up an extraordinary achievement.

Matthias Walkner (KTM Red Bull Factory Team) finished on top in the Bike division, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz (Team Peugeot Total) won the car division, Edouard Nikolaev, Evgeny Yakovlev and Vladimir Rybakov (Kamaz-Master) took Truck honors, while Ignacio Casale (Casale Racing) won in the Quads, and Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin (South Racing - Can Am) took out the Side-by-Side division.

But it's the photographers we want to celebrate today. In its new South American home, the Dakar Rally takes competitors across some truly awe-inspiring terrain. And the combination of world-class motorsport action, jaw-dropping scenery and top-level photography leaves us with a gallery not to be missed.

Check out the video below, then jump into the photo gallery and enjoy!

Best Of - Dakar 2018

For a list of the winners and finishers, check out the Dakar 2018 website.

Source: Dakar 2018

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