The 2013 Dakar Rally starts today, several hundred certifiably insane drivers and riders jump in their buggies, trucks, cars and bikes and set off to tackle the most challenging and dangerous rally-raid in the world.

The modern route switched from the African continent to South America back in 2009 after political upheaval and terror threats caused the cancellation of the rally in 2008, and this year’s fifth South American event will pass through Peru, Argentina and Chile.
The rally spans 15 days and over 8,000km across deserts, rocks, mountains; from the top of the world to sea level. The route tracks the continent’s western coastline, passing through iconic, historical locations like Nazca and Arequipa and tackling the largest chains of dunes ever seen on the Dakar before diverting inland and over the Andes mountains for the Argentinian leg to the plains of Cordoba. Heading back across the Andes, the competitors then have to tackle the extreme endurance challenge of mountains and coastal dunes

You can track all the action live on the official Dakar site