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Fancy Fernando Alonso’s chances at the Dakar rally?
Former F1 star and twice Le Mans winner is having a go in a rally raid Hilux
You’d think Fernando Alonso might have had enough of that motor racing lark. He’s won two Formula 1 world championships, two Le Mans 24 Hours and he’s even dabbled in IndyCar. He’d be forgiven for taking a break from it all to sit at home eating crisps.
That’s not ‘Nando’s style, though. In fact, he’s having a go at a branch of motorsport far more physical than those he’s tried so far. Having won Le Mans twice for Toyota he’s now testing their rally raid Hilux, and while no one’s confirmed he’ll compete in Dakar 2020, it seems highly likely that’s the end-game of his test sessions in the car.
“Over the next five months, Alonso will work closely with Toyota Gazoo Racing and its Dakar Rally team,” says Toyota. “He will undergo an intensive training programme in the Toyota Hilux across Europe, Africa and the Middle East to familiarise himself with the challenging rigours of rally raid competition.”
No one puts themselves through an intensive training programme for nothing, surely. “I’ve always maintained I want to pursue new challenges in different disciplines and I’m at a great team to do that,” says Alonso.
So after an initial go in the Hilux back in March, he’s currently testing the car again in the African desert ahead of an appearance in the South African Cross Country Series in September.
Next stop Dakar, held (somewhat controversially) in Saudi Arabia in 2020? We shall see. Reckon he’d ace that, too?