With his official entry into Dakar Rally, Fernando Alonso might be busy this January
Rally is followed by IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona
Toyota Gazoo Racing officially announced Friday that Fernando Alonso will be part of its lineup for the 2020 Dakar Rally, which will take place for the first time in Saudi Arabia. The works team features four crews consisting of Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel; Giniel de Villiers and navigator Alex Haro; Bernhard Ten Brinke and navigator Tom Colsoul; and Alonso and navigator Marc Coma.
Alonso is a two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, reigning FIA World Endurance Championship title holder with Toyota Gazoo Racing, two-time Formula 1 World Champion, and winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona. He will drive Toyota Gazoo Racing’s fourth entry in the 2020 Dakar Rally, part of his ambition to try different motorsport disciplines and become an even more complete racing driver. Sitting alongside him in the navigator seat is Coma, another Spanish motorsport legend, with six FIM Cross Country World Championships and five Dakar Rally victories in the bike category under his belt.
The Spanish super-duo, both transitioning into different forms of motorsport, has been hard at work since August, training in some of the harshest conditions and terrains throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. So far, Alonso and Coma have more than doubled their planned training mileage.
All four crews will compete in the latest version of the Toyota Hilux, built and developed in South Africa. The 2018 Dakar Rally saw the introduction of an all-new Hilux which was described by Glyn Hall, team principal, as a technological leap forward and proved itself from the get-go with a second and third place on its Dakar Rally debut before winning the event outright a year later. The Hilux features independent suspensions, mid-mounted engine and all-wheel drive, with the 5-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine sitting just behind the front wheels.
The 2020 Dakar Rally will be staged solely in Saudi Arabia, with the rally starting on January 5 in the western city of Jeddah. The route will head north, before turning southeast to the capital city of Riyadh, where crews will enjoy the traditional event rest day. The second half of the 2020 Dakar Rally traverses through Rub’ al Khali, also known as the “Empty Quarter,” the world’s largest contiguous sand desert, before finishing in the city of Al-Qiddiya on January 17.
Alonso won the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona this past January with Wayne Taylor Racing. Should he decide to return and defend his title, he will need to be in Florida just over a week after the rally, as the 2020 edition of the 24-hour race kicks off of on January 25. He has already committed to entering the 2020 Indianapolis 500 in May for the second time.