If rumours are to be believed, Fernando Alonso is set to contest the legendary Dakar Rally in 2020...
Continuing a journey of self discovery since leaving Grand Prix racing at the end of 2018, former double Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso is believed to be heading off to the Dakar Rally next year, teaming up once again with his Toyota Gazoon Racing team for a crack of the long distance off road event.
Having tested the Toyota Hilux machine earlier this year, Alonso is understood to be scheduled in for more time behind the wheel of the big off road machine later this year, as team and driver ramp up preparations ahead of an assault on the 2020 running of the Dakar Rally - set to be held in Saudi Arabia for the first time next season.
Alonso is in line to make his competitive debut in off road racing as early as next month, with an entry in the South African Harrismith 400 scheduled alongside an intensive testing schedule for the Spanish driver, as he continues to acclimatise to endurance off road racing.
“I’m really excited to continue my adventure with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing" said the former Minardi, Renault, McLaren and Ferrari F1 driver. "Together we have achieved so much since I first drove a Toyota in November 2017, with our two consecutive wins at Le Mans, the World Endurance Championship for the team and a drivers’ title with my teammates Sébastien and Kazuki. I got a taste of off-road rallying earlier this year and it left me with a good feeling that I want to prolong. 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.”
Although no official confirmation of the move to compete at Dakar has been forthcoming from either Toyota or Alonso, an announcement is expected to be presented in the coming weeks.
An interesting choice, and one that will surely add some further intrigue in what is one of the most spectacular forms of motorsport anywhere in the world.
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