Fernando Alonso prepares for possible Dakar Rally debut
Does the Dakar Rally now beckon for Alonso in 2020 as he adds off-road rallying to his motorsport CV?
Last Updated: 20/08/19 2:23pm
Fernando Alonso has committed to an "intensive" programme of cross-country rally testing as he contemplates participating in the Dakar Rally in 2020.
In his first year out of F1 for two decades, Alonso has raced and tested in different motorsport disciplines this year - and won the World Endurance Championship with Toyota in June.
Having tested Toyota's Dakar car in March for the first time in South Africa, Alonso has now confirmed a five-month programme across Europe, Africa and the Middle East to get up to speed with off-road rallying.
"I'm in a mission now, trying to become a more complete driver and to win as many different disciplines in motorsport," said Alonso from the first day of testing in Namibia.
"After winning in Formula 1, in WEC, the Daytona 24 Hours, now it's a big challenge from me to change from asphalt to gravel, to dunes.
Alonso's varied year...
|January||Daytona 24 Hours||1st|
|March||1000 Miles of Sebring||1st|
|March||Dakar Rally Testing||N/A|
|April||F1 Testing, Bahrain||N/A|
|May||6 Hours of Spa||1st|
|May||Indy 500||Did not qualify|
|June||Le Mans 24 Hours||1st|
|August||Dakar Rally Testing||N/A|
"It will require the best from myself and I will have to learn everything from zero. This is quite tempting and quite attractive at the moment for me as a driver."
In September, Alonso will make a non-competitive appearance in the Harrismith 400 rally event in South Africa.
"I got a taste of off-road rallying earlier this year and it left me with a good feeling that I want to prolong," said Alonso.
"I knew it would be a totally different experience with a steep learning curve but the Hilux just felt great; it gave me so much confidence so quickly and I was improving loop after loop."
"I'm really looking forward to the next few months of training, getting to know the Hilux and working with the team. I've always maintained I want to pursue new challenges in different disciplines and I'm at a great team to do that."
The 2020 Dakar Rally, which Toyota won this year, will take place in Saudi Arabia for the first time early in the new year.