Dakar 2020: Toyota's Alonso blames crash on "zero visibility" in dust

Pablo Elizalde, Sergio Lillo
Alonso blames
Alonso blames

Double Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso has blamed "zero visibility" caused by dust for his Dakar Rally crash, which cost him over two hours repairing his Toyota Hilux.

Alonso lost two hours and 34 minutes to the winner of the second stage, Giniel de Villiers, after damaging the suspension on his Hilux following an accident 100 miles into the stage.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

The pair had finished 11th on the first stage of the event but had been posting top five split times on the second test before the crash.

"We collided with something in the dust," said Alonso after the stage.

"We don't even know what it was, because we couldn't see anything.

"We had done 48km [29.8 miles] very fast and we had just caught Erik Van Loon, who was in front of us.

"Then we had 120km [74.56 miles] in the dust and with zero visibility until we collided with something."

Alonso and Coma were initially planning to wait for the assistance truck which would have come with a significant time penalty, but were able to repair the damage with help from the team over the radio.

However, Alonso had to drive the final part of the stage without front brakes.

"Initially we planned to wait for assistance, because a truck always comes 4-5 hours behind," he said.

Alonso blames
Alonso blames

"But calmly we started to disassemble what we could disassemble.

"We had contact with the team and we were informing how the progress was going.

"And at one point they told us that if we could get this and that out, we could almost repair it.

"We got a little more serious and that was the case

"We have been training on this for months, so it was also part of the preparation."

He added: "We drove without front brakes.

"We had to cut the front circuit, so we had to drive carefully, but it is more experience.

"I wanted to live the Dakar with all the extras and this is part of the race.

"I'm glad to be here and to continue."

The Spanish driver was still encouraged by the pace displayed during the stage after running close to the leaders' time before his crash.

Alonso is now 48th in the standings, two hours and 38 minutes behind leader Orlando Terranova.

"It's just as annoying," he said of the accident.

"I think it was a good day overall, the pace was good, I only did 48km with my pace, but I think we were within the top two or three minimum, and then the navigation was going perfect, we were going just perfect.

"Overall good feelings, happy to continue here because the goal is to finish the Dakar and live the whole experience from start to finish.

"Surely the result is the negative part of today."

Get unlimited access to the world’s best motorsport journalism with Autosport Plus

What to read next