A popemobile, a grill barbecuing meat, a flying carpet, a Chinese dragon and a huge wine bottle made of corks were some of the "crazy cars" competing in a madcap race through downtown Buenos Aires.
Before thousands of curiosity seekers, some 40 homemade, motorless vehicles took part in the first Red Bull Soapbox Race in Argentina in hopes of grabbing the sought-after prize: an all-expenses-paid trip to the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix.
The race rewarded not only speed but also originality, according to members of a jury made up of former F1 driver Norberto Fontana, model Pampita Ardohain, actor Nicolas Riera and two-time Dakar rally champion Marcos Patronelli.
Some of the competitors were inspired by the Hanna-Barbera animated series "Wacky Races," in which the villain Dick Dastardly and his faithful dog Muttley unsuccessfully tried to set a trap for their rivals so they could cross the finish line first.
Others, however, went for typically Argentine themes, such as those who created a barbecue-car packed to overflowing with sizzling cuts of meat, and the popemobile driver wearing a mask representing Argentina's Pope Francis, who before rolling down the track gave a benediction to the crowd and beseeched it to "Pray for me."
The first Red Bull Soapbox Race took place in Belgium in 2000, followed by editions in Barcelona, London, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oman, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Paris, Moscow, Taipei and elsewhere.