Alonso completes latest Dakar Rally preparations in Poland

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Fernando Alonso is continuing his preparations ahead of an expected bid at the Dakar Rally next January.

Following a recent test in the dunes of Namibia, the two-time Formula 1 champion headed to the forests of Poland for his next experience in rallying, completing 700km in Szczecin.

This comes ahead of a first cross country event in South Africa next week at the Litchtenburg 400, where the Toyota Gazoo Racing team which enters Dakar is based.

A first official rally raid outing is expected at the final round of the current season in Morocco next month.

“It was definitely a positive couple of days here in Poland where I could experiment with a different sort of terrain," Alonso explained.


"At this stage of my training, I welcome every kilometre in the Hilux and I’m happy we were able to push ourselves beyond the team’s original plans.

“It’s really great to be part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing family and be given opportunities to try my hands at different types of motorsport. The Hilux has been really fun to drive and I’m enjoying every test.”

Though Alonso's official entry into the 2020 Dakar in Saudi Arabia hasn't been confirmed, the boss of Toyota's operation, Glyn Hall, is pleased by the progress made.

“As we progress through our intensive training programme, we are focused on getting quality kilometres as Fernando continues to familiarise himself with the Hilux and rally raid, more so than pure mileage,” he explained.

“Nevertheless, we were able to double the planned mileage for this test which demonstrates just how quickly Fernando is acclimatising to the Hilux. 

“Next week, we leave the relative comfort of a private test setting to give Fernando a first taste of a rally raid competition environment at the Lichtenburg 400.

“We are grateful to the South African Cross Country Series for the special dispensation allowing Toyota Gazoo Racing to maximise this valuable opportunity in Fernando’s continuing training programme.”

During that event, Alonso will not be competing against the other drivers but rather gaining experience in a competitive environment.