AP Photos: Navigating the desert in the Dakar Rally

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, Sara Garcia of Spain checks her Yamaha motorbike, next to his partner Javier Vega of Spain at the Dakar rally "pa...
In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 photo, an overview of the Dakar rally bivouac in Al Ula, in Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, the...
In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, Saudi Arabia security forces pray while a care races during stage seven of the Dakar Rally between Riyadh and Wad...
In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, a track drives past the entrance gate of Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, ...
In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, Dakar rally staffers play petanque after stage eight in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the Pari...
In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo, a competitor washes a Can-Am SSV after stage five of the Dakar Rally in Hail, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as th...
In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, co-driver Maurizio Dominella of Italy, checks the road book for the next stage at the restaurant of the Dakar Ral...
In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, a team member of driver Camelia Liparoti, of Italy, and co-driver Annett Fischer, of Germany, does the laundry af...
In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, a mechanic works on a car after stage eight of the Dakar Rally in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known a...
In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, Muslims pray at a tent after stage eight of the Dakar Rally in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as t...
In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, Dakar TV staffers work inside the broadcast truck after stage eight in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly kn...
In this Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 photo, Red Bull mechanics work at the Dakar Rally bivouac in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar R...
In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 photo, driver Peter Van Merksteijn, of Netherlands, foreground, and co-driver Michael Orr, of Great Britain, after cras...
In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo, Karcher staffers fill a tank with water to be used for cleaning vehicles at the bivouac of the Dakar Rally in Ha...
In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, APSCO employees fill a tank of a Dakar helicopter at the end of stage seven in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. For...
In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo, a team staffer pauses at the bivouac after stage five of the Dakar Rally in Hail, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known a...
In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, Dakar pilots and medics gather around a bonfire after stage seven of the Dakar Rally in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Ar...
In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, driver Giniel De Villers, of South Africa, and co-driver Alex Haro, of Spain, race their Toyota during stage seve...
In this Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 photo, a race car kicks up a trail of dust during stage two of the Dakar Rally, between Al Wajh and Neom, Saudi Arabia. F...
This Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 photo shows an overview of stage four of the Dakar Rally between Neom and Al Ula, in Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the ...
In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, driver Quan Ruan, of China, and co-driver Yirong Wang, of China, race their Chevrolet during stage eight of the D...

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, Sara Garcia of Spain checks her Yamaha motorbike, next to his partner Javier Vega of Spain at the Dakar rally "pa...

In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 photo, an overview of the Dakar rally bivouac in Al Ula, in Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, the...

In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, Saudi Arabia security forces pray while a care races during stage seven of the Dakar Rally between Riyadh and Wad...

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, a track drives past the entrance gate of Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, ...

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, Dakar rally staffers play petanque after stage eight in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the Pari...

In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo, a competitor washes a Can-Am SSV after stage five of the Dakar Rally in Hail, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as th...

In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, co-driver Maurizio Dominella of Italy, checks the road book for the next stage at the restaurant of the Dakar Ral...

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, a team member of driver Camelia Liparoti, of Italy, and co-driver Annett Fischer, of Germany, does the laundry af...

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, a mechanic works on a car after stage eight of the Dakar Rally in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known a...

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, Muslims pray at a tent after stage eight of the Dakar Rally in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as t...

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, Dakar TV staffers work inside the broadcast truck after stage eight in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. Formerly kn...

In this Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 photo, Red Bull mechanics work at the Dakar Rally bivouac in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar R...

In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 photo, driver Peter Van Merksteijn, of Netherlands, foreground, and co-driver Michael Orr, of Great Britain, after cras...

In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo, Karcher staffers fill a tank with water to be used for cleaning vehicles at the bivouac of the Dakar Rally in Ha...

In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, APSCO employees fill a tank of a Dakar helicopter at the end of stage seven in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia. For...

In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo, a team staffer pauses at the bivouac after stage five of the Dakar Rally in Hail, Saudi Arabia. Formerly known a...

In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, Dakar pilots and medics gather around a bonfire after stage seven of the Dakar Rally in Wadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Ar...

In this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 photo, driver Giniel De Villers, of South Africa, and co-driver Alex Haro, of Spain, race their Toyota during stage seve...

In this Monday, Jan. 6, 2020 photo, a race car kicks up a trail of dust during stage two of the Dakar Rally, between Al Wajh and Neom, Saudi Arabia. F...

This Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 photo shows an overview of stage four of the Dakar Rally between Neom and Al Ula, in Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as the ...

In this Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 photo, driver Quan Ruan, of China, and co-driver Yirong Wang, of China, race their Chevrolet during stage eight of the D...

Spanish motorcyclist Sara Garcia searches for a tool inside a red metallic box during one of the world's toughest races, gazing at pictures and support messages from family and friends.

Garcia and her Yamaha are taking part in the Dakar Rally, an annual event being covered by The Associated Press.

"I'm tired," Garcia said with a smile, adding: "She is tired," referring to her motorbike.

In the same division, Spanish rider Julian Jose García Merino fine-tunes his loyal partner, a blue Yamaha.

"At the end, it is all about finding time to rest," said García Merino, who is riding in the race for the fifth time and competing in a category that cannot accept external help. "Me and my machine go together on this adventure. I can't be on one side and the machine on the other."

The race started on Jan. 5 with 560 drivers and co-drivers, some on motorbikes, others in cars or in trucks. Only 41 are taking part in the Original category.

"Original is the concept that is closest to the first Dakar," rally director David Castera said.

Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, the race was created by Thierry Sabine after he got lost in the Libyan desert in 1977. Until 2008, the rallies raced across Africa, but threats in Mauritania led organizers to cancel that year's event and move it to South America.

It has now shifted to Saudi Arabia.

"Our intention is also to expand the Dakar to the border countries: Oman, Jordan, United Arab Emirates," Castera said. "The Dakar is a nomadic race whose vocation is to explore the deserts in the world."

Today's Dakar Rally is a well-oiled machine with millions of followers on social media and thousands of hours broadcast in more than 100 countries. Over two weeks, the competitors speed through breathtaking landscapes and end each night at the bivouac, the heart of the race and a landscape of camping tents with clothes hanging from dismantled vehicles, co-pilots checking the road book while eating dinner, staffers playing pétanque, and pilots queuing for a hopefully not-so-cold shower.

"The way of living here is a little wild. It's not the comfort you may have in the circuit or in the Formula One environment," said two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who is competing his first Dakar Rally. “It's a personal challenge.”

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