The stage is set for the 33rd running of the Dakar Rally, which runs from Jan. 1 through Jan. 15, and most competitors are currently in South America.
The racing will be slightly more intense for 2012 due to the 15-day race only having one day of rest, and a 450cc limit for the motorcycles.
The Grand Start will be in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, with the first five stages occurring in the country. Riders will endure many obstacles throughout the Argentina stages, including sand dunes, canyons and the Andes Mountains.
The next five stages and the single day of rest will occur in Chile. In these stages, the riders will finish running in the Andes and began a trek through the Atacama Desert.
The last five stages take the riders through Peru, which includes additional challenges in the desert. The race will then finish in Lima, Peru, Jan. 15, after almost 5,600 miles of racing.
This will be the fourth Dakar completed on the South America continent.
Last year in the motorcycle field, KTM’s Marc Coma finished first behind another three-time Dakar winner, Cyril Despres (KTM), and Pedrero finished fifth. It was Coma’s third Dakar victory, and the 10th consecutive for KTM.
Attached above is the official teaser for 2012 Dakar.