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Despite the best efforts of racing organizations the world over to clean up their image, it's pretty tough to consider any kind of motorsport squeaky clean. Apparently, that's especially true of the recent Dakar rally in South America. Besides the expected burning of fossil fuels and the emissions associated with it, the National Monuments Council (NMC) of Chile reports that the off-road race caused roughly $570,000 (300 million pesos) of damage to 56 of the country's 111 heritage sites.

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Despite the best efforts of racing organizations the world over to clean up their image, it's pretty tough to consider any kind of motorsport squeaky clean. Apparently, that's especially true of the recent Dakar rally in South America. Besides the expected burning of fossil fuels and the emissions associated with it, the National Monuments Council (NMC) of Chile reports that the off-road race caused roughly $570,000 (300 million pesos) of damage to 56 of the country's 111 heritage sites.

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Carlos Sainz wins the 2010 Dakar Rally for VW – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Volkswagen Amarok Dakar Support Vehicle – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Casualties are nothing new in the history of the Dakar Rally, and unfortunately the 2010 event has already claimed a life. During the opening stage of the 32nd running of the 9,000-kilometer race this weekend, 28 year-old Natalia Sonia Gallardo was struck and killed by a truck being driven by Mirco Schultis. As a result of large crowds along the route, Gallardo was reportedly standing in an unauthorized area where spectators were not supposed to be and police did nothing to stop people from gath

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There are thousands of iPhone apps for all "that" and too much more, but few that we think have the potential to be this cool. VW will contest the Dakar Rally from January 2-17 -- Race Touareg 2 drivers Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz Mark Miller finished 1-2 last year -- and you can follow the VW team with its Rally Mobile app.

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Click above to view the video after the jump

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Klever Kolberg and his ethanol-powered MItsubishi Pajero Sport - Click above for high-res gallery

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Austrian motorcycle maker KTM stakes its reputation on the ability of its off-road motorcycles to tackle the toughest terrain on earth, and it's made a habit of proving these capabilities with both a factory team and a far-reaching privateer support program in the Dakar Rally each year. Up through 2009, that is – KTM has just announced that it's pulling out of next year's event.

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