Legends of Dakar

The Dakar Rally is a place where tough guy reputations are forged, and true blue heroes emerge.

It's a rally that takes months, and years to prepare for. One of the most gruelling endurance events on earth, it is fraught with danger and full of excitement. The Dakar Rally is also a place where tough guy reputations are forged. The race's rich history is full of heroes, and great stories, starting with that of the father of the rally, Thierry Sabine.

Sabine was the man who gave birth to the idea of the Dakar Rally. After getting lost in the desert, during a race between Abijan and Nice, he decided it might be a nice place for a rally. By the time he died in 1986, the Dakar was an unmissable event in the world of endurance driving.

Hubert Auriol became the first driver to win the Dakar on both two and four wheels. He won the motorcycle competition twice, and in 1992, won the car rally title. Pictured here next to the car he drove in the Africa Eco Race in 2012.

Stephane Peterhansel became the second person to master Dakar on both two and four wheels, but his victory came a full 12 years after Auriol set the bar. In the picture above, he is celebrating overall victory at Dakar 2013, after edging out South Africa's Gniel De Villiers.

Peterhansel spoke to Derek Alberts saying he believes the true spirit of the Dakar Rally is best experienced on a motorcycle. He believes this will be the toughest Dakar to be run in South America.

The Dakar is, overwhelmingly male dominated, but in 2001 a female competitor, Jutta Kleinschmidt drove her Mitsubishi Pajero to victory in 2001. She was the first woman to win the race. Pictured above on the podium at the end of the 16th stage of the 27th Dakar rally in 2005.

Ari Vatenan won the Dakar four times. He swapped fast cars for a slower life in politics, serving as a member of the European Parliament from 1999-2009.

He might only have won one Dakar rally, in 1983, but Jackie Ickx deserves a place in the hall of fame none the less. He took on the Dakar after a stunning run of 6 Le Mans victories, and a highly successful career in Formula One.

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