Former F1 driver Fernando Alonso is racing in the 2020 Dakar Rally and performing fairly decently. However he suffered a small scare during the 10th stage of the race.
Just two kilometers into the 534km stage, the Spaniard drove up a sand dune at an awkward angle. This resulted in his Toyota Hilux going airborne and performing two barrel rolls. The good news was that the car came to a stop on the flat, the right side up.
Luckily, Fernando Alonso and co-driver Marc Coma escaped injury. They were also able to get the car going after a few agonising seconds. The bad news was that the damage cost them more than an hour to repair. As it turns out, Alonso and Coma had to knock out the car’s windscreen before continuing the stage.
Despite the setbacks, Alonso is still happy as he exceeded “all kinds of personal goals” on his Dakar debut. Admittedly, there was a fair bit of concern for Alonso and his teammate’s safety. This was after the tragic passing of veteran motorcyclist Paulo Goncalves in a crash on the seventh stage of the rally.
The 2020 Dakar rally is being hosted in Saudi Arabia for the very first time. Previous editions have been held in Europe and Africa from 1979 to 2007. However, when the 2008 rally was cancelled, it moved to South America in 2009. The event remained in South American shores for the next decade, but has now moved to the Middle East.
Meanwhile, at the front of the field, Carlos Sainz Sr leads the 43-team field with two stages left to compete. The 57-year old is a two-time World Rally champion and won the Dakar Rally twice, in 2010 and 2018.
Since closing the F1 chapter, Fernando Alonso had been interested in Endurance racing and won the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The Spaniard won at Le Mans again, before taking on the Dakar Rally. However, he has yet to win the Indy 500 and complete the Triple Crown.