The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

The 2012 Dakar kicked off to a dramatic start Sunday as Argentina's coastal dunes overtaxed several trucks and even a quad, resulting in multiple fires. The rally is now on its third of 14 stages, covering over 3,000 miles off road in Argentina, Chile and this year, for the first time, Peru.

The most difficult off-road race in the world, it used to be called the Paris-Dakar because that was the route. That gradually changed as driving 100 MPH off road through the European countryside became less palatable and the rally shifted its focus to Africa's west coast and northern deserts.

Then, after 9/11, as terrorism became a concern and rich racers got tired of looking out for land mines along the route, the whole shebang was relocated to South America, where fat wallets pretty much eliminate any concerns about the environmental impact or the often hushed-up spectator deaths - make no mistake, this is still dangerous, dirty, old-school racing, for bad and good.

One of the most unique spectacles on earth, dozens of trucks, buggies, quads and bikes race through spectactular scenery. There's almost as many photographers, videographers and helicopters tasked with bringing back footage and photos but, the immense scale of the event essentially defies real television coverage.

You can't sit back with a beer and waste hours on Sunday watching Dakar like you can with the Rose Bowl, but you can enjoy these stunning photos by clicking through this gallery.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Redbull

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Redbull

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Redbull

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Redbull

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty ImagesPhoto Credit: Redbull

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Dakar Race Looks Pretty Much Like A Post-Apocalyptic HellscapeS

Photo Credit: Getty Images