After victory in the World Endurance Championship behind the wheel of Toyota, Alonso’s next challenge will be the 2020 Dakar Rally.
Even though he has had limited seat time in a rally raid vehicle, Alonso does not want to miss the opportunity offered by the Japanese brand to take part in the next edition of the Dakar rally.
Today, in a second test, this time in the Namibian dunes, Alonso is testing the Toyota Hilux with which he is set to embark on his next challenge.
Alonso recently posted a video on social media where he can be seen training in an off-road kart, a tool that many rally drivers use in preparation for off-road events.
Towards the end of March this year Alonso completed an evaluation test at the wheel of the 2019 Dakar winning Toyota Hilux. Alonso spent two days in the Kalahari Desert learning the specific demands of rally raid during an exclusive test.
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA organised the test in order for Alonso to experience rally raid for the first time. Giniel de Villiers acted as Alonso’s mentor during the test.
“I followed the Dakar and thanks to Toyota Gazoo Racing I had the opportunity to come to South Africa to test the Dakar-winning Hilux. I Have tested different series and different cars these past couple of years and this was a great opportunity. It has been fun, certainly different to what I am used to driving, but very interesting. We built up speed slowly, learning lap after lap. It’s not easy to read the bumps and to know how much speed to carry but I became more confident each time. The Hilux feels great, it has good grip and balance, lots of power and impressive braking. It felt incredible to drive this car” said Alonso following that initial test.
The two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, reigning FIA World Endurance Championship title holder, two-time Formula 1 World Champion, and winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona, will push his limits to develop the off-road driving skills needed to tackle some of motorsport’s most challenging events.
Fernando, 38, will continue testing in the deserts of southern Africa on August 20-23, followed by a non-competitive first outing at the 2019 Harrismith 400 in South Africa, fifth round of the South African Cross Country Series, on September 13-14.
“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.” said Alonso
This announcement will see Toyota Gazoo Racing SA field a three car team in the 2020 Dakar Rally, which will take place in Saudi Arabia for the first time, with Giniel de Villiers, Nasser al Attiyah and Fernando Alonso behind the wheel of a trio of South African built Toyota Hilux bakkies.
Fernando confirmed that he was indeed in Namibia yesterday via Instagram.
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