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In pictures: Dakar the ultimate dream for off-road racers

In the 32-year history of the race, only six Canadians have ever finished

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Motorcycles participating in the 2012 Dakar Rally in Lima, about 120 km north of Buenos Aires. The Dakar 2012 Rally will take place in Argentina, Chile and Peru from January 1 to 15.

JUAN MABROMATA/JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images

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Spare tires on top of a truck which will take part in the Dakar 2012 Argentina-Chile-Peru Rally parked at the Zarate docks, 102 km (63 miles) north of Buenos Aires.

REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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Preparing for the 2012 Dakar Rally.

JUAN MABROMATA/JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images

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Vehicles participating in the Dakar 2012 Rally are seen parked in Lima, Peru.

JUAN MABROMATA/JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images

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Dakar 2012 Rally

JUAN MABROMATA/JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images

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Vehicles participating in the Dakar 2012 Rally

JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images

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Vehicles participating in the Dakar 2012 Rally

REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian

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Vicente De Benedictis of Brazil (R) crashes on a dune in front of Pablo Copetti of Argentina (top R) and Christophe Geoffroy of France (L) during the seventh stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Arica to Antofagasta January 9, 2011.

© Eric Gaillard / Reuters/REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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Cyril Despres of France rides his KTM during the third stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Tucuman to Jujuy, January 4, 2011.

ERIC GAILLARD/REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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A competitor rides his motorbike during the eighth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011, from Antofagasta to Copiapo, January 10, 2011.

© Eric Gaillard / Reuters/REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar drives his Volkswagen Touareg during the twelfth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011, from San Juan to Cordoba on January 14, 2011.

© Eric Gaillard / Reuters/REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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Competitors start the ninth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Copiapo to Copiapo January 11, 2011.

© Eric Gaillard / Reuters/REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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Spaniard Coma Marc competes during the second stage of the Central European Rally near Baia Mare, 620 km north from Bucharest on April 21, 2008. The Central European Rally of Dakar series is being held in Hungary and Romania between April 20 and 26 after the Lisbon-Dakar race was cancelled over security concerns.

DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images

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In 2007, Don Hatton was the only Canadian competing in the Lisbon to Dakar Rally, a gruelling 15 day, 9,273 km race on his KTM 525 dirt bike. He is photographed here with some of his other 10 motorcycles, since the one he's using in the race has been shipped ahead for the Jan 5th start.

Diana Nethercott/diana nethercott The Globe and Mail

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Australian rider Andy Caldecott rides during the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally between Er Rachidia and Ouazazate, Morocco, Tuesday Jan.3, 2006. Caldecott was killed in a crash in the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally in 2006.

JEROME PREVOST/AP Photo/Jerome Prevost, Presse Sports

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Motorbikes and cars in the 7th stage between Tan-Tan in Morocco and Atar in Mauritania, during the 26th edition of the DAKAR motor rallying raid in 2004.

PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP PHOTO PHILIPPE DESMAZES

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French driver Luc Alphand steers his BMW X4 followed by compatriot Jean-Louis Schlesser during the 15th stage between Tidjika and Nouakchott in Mauritania, for the 26th edition of the Dakar rally.

PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES

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Cars and motorcycles are parked in the Avinguda de la Reina Maria Christina after the preliminary tests at Palau Sant Jordi sports in Barcelona, December 30, 2004, on the eve of the 27th Rally Dakar.

CESAR RANGEL/CESAR RANGEL/AFP/Getty Images

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Spain's Juan Roma rides by the Namous volcano crater in the Libyan desert in 2000 during the 12th stage of the Dakar rally going from Waw El Kebir to Waha. Roma finished sixth in the stage.

PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP PHOTO/PATRICK HERTZOG

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German driver Jutta Kleinschmidt races through the Libyan desert during the 12th stage of the Paris-Dakar-Cairo rally between and Waw el Kebir and Waha, central Libya, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2000.

BRUNO FABLET/AP PHOTO/Bruno Fablet/Presse sports

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Malian tuaregs lead their caravan of dromaderies carrying salt through the Malian desert Sunday Jan. 11, 1998. The 20th Paris-Dakar rally race participants travelled through Mali and Mauritanian deserts on their way to Dakar, Senegal where the rally ended on Jan. 18.

BRUNO FABLET/AP Photo/Bruno Fablet/Presse Sports

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Two competitors of the 19th Dakar rally drive past camels during the ninth stage of the rally between Agades and Oclan, Niger, Monday Jan. 13, 1997.

Patrick Boutroux/AP Photo/Presse Sports, Patrick Boutroux

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