The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally

The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally

The 5,281-mile Dakar Rally is unbelievably punishing, especially for motorcycle competitors. But the scenery is out of this world.

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Image for article titled The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally
Photo: Marian Chytka

Considered by many to be the toughest Dakar route in recent memory, the 2023 rally passed from the Red Sea camp to the other side of the country in Dammam. Encountering a range of surfaces and landscapes along the snaking route, the drivers’ navigational skills will be pushed to the limit, not to mention their levels of determination and their ability to endure extreme discomfort.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

Image for article titled The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally
Photo: Marian Chytka

This is the fourth Dakar to be held among the roiling dunes of Saudi Arabia and the 45th ever instalment of the motorsport event. We expected sand, crashes, and gorgeous vistas and for sure that’s what we got.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

Image for article titled The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally
Photo: Marian Chytka

French challenger Adrien van Beveren, shown above, dominated stage 5 of the rally after celebrating his 32nd birthday the night before in the bivouac. He edged ahead of teammate Jose Ignacio Cornejo by the smallest of margins in a 649km-race that passed through sand, sand, and more sand just outside Ha’il.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

Image for article titled The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally
Photo: Marian Chytka

The route may no longer pass through multiple countries, but whatever you think about the rally, you can’t sanitize the Dakar. Veteran racer Joan Barreda, shown above, proved that experience protects no one from crashing in the dunes. One broken vertebrae and a fractured pelvis later, Joan was forced to head home for the year.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

Image for article titled The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally
Photo: Marian Chytka

We know Ricky Brabec, shown above, as the first US winner of the Dakar in 2020. Unfortunately for him, this year a savage crash on stage 3 ejected the American from the race early on in the runnings. Brabec won the opening stage of the rally in what seemed at the time to be a good omen. It just goes to show how volatile the rankings can be out there among the dunes.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

Image for article titled The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally
Photo: Marian Chytka

Hero Motorsports’ Ross Branch who took victory in stage 8, won again on stage 10 by 21 seconds on his 450 Rally bike, shown above. That is despite such prosaic setbacks during the rally as a lack of fuel out there in the desert. “We ran out of fuel, which was completely unexpected and nobody’s fault,” Branch said. Out there in the dunes it can be simple logistical challenges that determine the rankings in this battle of endurance.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka

Behind the lens, photographer Marian Chytka is in an enviable position. He has captured eleven Dakar Rally events on his camera, as well as shooting for F1, MotoGP, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The privilege of being in such a position cannot be overstated, as Chytka follows the action live and in person. We are grateful for his gorgeous rallying compositions.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka

Five distinct classes of vehicles compete in the Dakar Rally: motorcycles, quads, cars, lightweight vehicles, and trucks. Entering them all into one event, albeit in their own separate classes, viewers have the opportunity to mentally compare them and wonder whether the speed and agility of a motorbike would trump the sheer brute force of a truck, or if in fact a car running on biofuel has what it takes to dominate the Dakar rankings. Watching the different categories of vehicles race under the umbrella of a single event has to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the Dakar Rally.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka

From here on out, let’s enjoy the sights of the 2023 Dakar Rally.

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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

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Photo: Marian Chytka
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2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

2023 Dakar Rally in Pictures

Image for article titled The Harrowing Beauty of the 2023 Dakar Rally
Photo: Marian Chytka
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