18 Amazing Moments From The World's Toughest Road Race

The two-week-long Dakar Rally is among the most intense off-roading events in the world.

Each year, nearly 600 drivers on motorcycles, quad bikes, cars, and trucks take on the challenge of this endurance ride through the South American wilderness.

This year’s perilous course began in Rosario, Argentina, taking racers more than 5,000 miles up through the desert of Bolivia and down the Chilean coast.

The race is also notoriously dangerous. Heading into the final stages of the course, there were already three fatalities: Belgian motorcyclist Eric Palante and two spectators have died.

This year’s rally was filled with plenty of drama, highlighted in these jaw-dropping photos.

They finished Jan. 18 in Valparaiso, Chile, with Spain’s Nani Roma taking first place.

This year's racers posed for a picture in downtown Rosario, Argentina, before starting the race.

Spectators stood in knee-deep water as they cheered on racers during the first stage.

Spain's Nani Roma pushed through dirt during the first stage, which ended in San Luis, Argentina.

The mountains made for a beautiful backdrop and challenging terrain.

Orlando Terranova of Argentina drove by cheering fans in his Mini.

The car belonging to drivers Bauryzhan Issabayev and Gabdulla Ashimov of Kazakhstan went up in flames.

Russia's Audrey Karginov got some air in his huge Kamaz truck.

Portugal's Paulo Goncalves looked miserable as his Hondo burned during the fifth stage.

France's Stephane Hammard pushed his motorcycle through the mud as Bolivia's Walter Nosiglia approached from behind.

Spain's Jordi Viladoms sent sand flying as his rode his KTM motorcycle down the dunes.

A dog led Joan Barreda of Spain to the finish line of the seventh stage, which brought racers from Salta, Argentina to Uyuni, Bolivia.

Bolivian President Evo Morales celebrated with Speedbrain rider Juan Carlos Salvatierra at the end of the seventh stage in Uyuni.

During the ninth stage, French rider Cyril Despres powered his Yamaha down the dunes from Calama to Iquique, Chile.

Joan Barreda looked lonely riding his Honda motorcycle through the Chilean desert.

Americans Robby Gordon and Kellon Walch stopped to work on their Hummer during the ninth stage.

Spanish rider Marc Coma powered through the tough terrain on his KTM motorcycle.

Chilean Boris Garafulic kicked up sand with his Mini during the tenth stage.

Spanish driver Carlos Sainz, a two-time Dakar Rally champion, was evacuated by a medical team after a crash in the tenth stage forced him to withdraw.

Now see what's been going on in the auto industry.

NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.