The 2010 Dakar (née Paris-Dakar) Rally is well under way. The race began on January 1st and is scheduled to end on the 16th, but a flood of amazing images have already hit the wire services. Gallery time? You betcha.

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Thanks to security concerns, the Dakar Rally no longer runs, as its name once indicated, from Paris to Dakar. The event now takes place in Argentina and Chile, and while it's nowhere near as epic as before, it's still nothing to sneeze at — some stages encompass up to 550 miles of off-road travel and include everything from desert terrain to dense forest. Today's leg, Stage 14, runs from San Juan to San Rafael. Its terrain and elevation changes look something like this:

The stage map, if you're interested, can be found here. The complete rally map, along with a day-by-day schedule (Rest day? Pansies!) can be found here. A two-picture sequence of a BMW X3 getting funky can be found here:

Our balls, meanwhile, are nowhere near Argentina. They're cowering in the closet.

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X3 Photo Credit: Natacha Pisarenko/AFP/Getty Images