Dakar 2018: A tough and beautiful race so far

As we reach the well-earned rest day of Dakar 2018, it can certainly be said that this year’s route so far has been one of the toughest. From the start in Lima, Peru to today’s rest day in La Paz, Bolivia, the competitors have passed through days of desert and will now head into the mountains, racing at an altitude of over 2,500 meters.

Luciano Benavides (ARG), Laia Sanz (ESP), Sam Sunderland (GBR), Matthias Walkner (AUT), Toby Price (AUS) & Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM 450 RALLY Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com

The opening part of the 40th edition of the notorious Rally Dakar was through the dunes and desert in Peru, with off-piste riding, tough climbs, soft sand and high temperatures to battle through. A mass start on the beach on day four offered a different kind of spectacle followed by some tough navigation and difficult terrain, while Day 5 provided the second longest stage of the rally with extremely tough mountainous sand dunes during the special stage. Austrian-ace Matthias Walkner said after Stage 5: “That was such an exhausting day. They said the rally this year was going to be one of the toughest ever and it’s certainly the hardest Dakar so far for me.”

Yesterday’s stage brought the riders from Arequipa, Peru to La Paz, and while last year’s winner Sam Sunderland is unfortunately out of the race, the KTM Factory Racing Team is enjoying strong and consistent results from all of its riders aboard their KTM 450 RALLY machines heading into the second half of the event. With 3,034 km covered so far, and over 5,000 km to go across eight stages, including the ultra-challenging marathon stages where no assistance can be given by the team, we take a look at some of the most beautiful images from the race so far …

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Luciano Benavides (ARG) & Laia Sanz (ESP) Dakar 2018 © PhotosDakar.com

Photos: PhotosDakar.com