For the 2020 season, all eyes are trained on the Fernando Alonso camp and what he is doing. For now, it looks like his 2020 plans are shaping up very nicely indeed as he looks forward to some racing action.
Recently, it was announced that he was taking part in a five-month testing programme with Toyota. Speculation says that the veteran Spaniard is preparing for a possible debut run at the Dakar Rally in January.
Alonso’s name has been on the lips of many, closely followed by the words, Formula 1, for a while. However, it seems that he is a one-track person and firmly focused on tackling the legendary Dakar Rally.
The two-time World Champion will be testing out the Dakar-spec Toyota Hilux before racing at the Harrismith 400 cross country race in South Africa in September.
“I’m really excited to continue my adventure with Toyota Gazoo Racing,” an ecstatic Alonso said.
“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 team-mates Sebastien [Buemi] and Kazuki [Nakajima].”
“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.”
While Alonso could opt out if if he felt that he was not ready to take on the rally, Toyota Gazoo SA team boss Glyn Hall is optimistic. According to him their plan will boost the Spaniard’s confidence in terms of competing in the early stages of next year.
“In March this year, we completed a successful two-day evaluation with Fernando in our Dakar-winning Toyota Hilux in Southern Africa, which proved to be a valuable learning experience,” Hall said.
“Not only did Fernando thoroughly enjoy the experience, but we could see him adapt and improve every time he got behind the wheel. It was clear that Fernando came to the test prepared and was ready to absorb everything we showed him.
“Rally raid is new for Fernando and I’m certain he has the skill and spirit to take on this challenge.
“As reigning Dakar champions with a long history in rally raid, I’m confident we can work well together with Fernando to build up his confidence for rally raid competition over the next few months.”