Cool start to a hot race

Gordini's US driver Robby Gordon and co-driver Kellon Walch taking their vehicle through the paces during the 11km Prologue of the 2016 Dakar Rally in Buenos Aires province, Argentina, last Saturday.

The treacherous 8,000km Dakar Rally, which began yesterday, will see racers cross Argentina and Bolivia in a two-week test of endurance.

The annual off-road race, considered the world's most challenging and dangerous motor sports event, sometimes results in deaths. Since its inception in 1978, the rally has claimed the lives of 28 participants.

Originally run from Paris to Dakar, Senegal, the rally moved to South America in 2009 after threats of terrorist attacks in Mauritania and Mali convinced organisers that they needed to leave Africa.

It is a brutal race - 14 days, in sprints of up to 900km a day, at speeds above 160kmh, along unpaved and unmarked trails, over sand dunes, across rivers, up mountains and through one of the world's largest salt lakes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2016, with the headline 'Cool start to a hot race'. Print Edition | Subscribe