Last updated on 21/01/2020
Former F1 driver Fernando Alonso was well aware of the Dakar Rally’s dark and extremely dangerous history before he entered the 2020 race as a first-time participant, but that didn’t stop him from taking on what he called the biggest challenge of his career. In the early stages, Alonso’s first rally got off to a rocky start when he hit a hole that ripped off a wheel and severely damaged his truck’s suspension geometry. Though it cost him significant recovery time in the race, the first wreck was nothing compared to what happened in Stage 10. With former Dakar champion and co-driver Marc Coma along for the ride, Alonso rolled his truck down a sand hill before driving off and continuing the race. He finished the race, and nobody was seriously injured.
The Dakar Rally is one of the most insane and intense competitions in the world, motorsport or not, and only those with bulletproof minds and bulletproof rides are capable of reaching the finish line. The rally takes place in Saudi Arabia and covers about 4,660 miles across constantly varying terrain. More than 75 percent of the race takes place on sand, but the undulating depths and multiple types of pulverized stone continually add difficulty.
Alonso’s ride for the rally is a Gazoo Racing-prepped Toyota Hilux truck. In the video below, posted from the official Dakar account, the Hilux is seen approaching a fairly large sand dune at high speeds. Going into the jump blind, the truck hits the crest at a cocked angle and immediately starts to rotate toward its right side. After two barrel rolls, Alonso, Coma, and the Hilux land on all four wheels with the
shiny dusty side up. After a moment’s hesitation, the truck fires back up, and it goes upon its way.
Not a smooth start of the stage for @alo_oficial!
He dropped over 1h with an early crash and resumed driving without a windshield!
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) January 15, 2020
Although we haven’t seen any detailed images of the vehicle after the wreck, it seems to have taken on a fair bit of body damage, just nothing that prevented the car from driving. Alonso went on to finish the stage and posted to social media after the race to let everybody know he’s ready to take on Stage 11. Following Stage 10, which included about an hour of time to tidy up the vehicle, Alonso sits in 14th place in the automobile class.
For more on Alonso’s decision and journey to compete in the world’s ultimate rally, visit Dakar.com, and check out our full gallery of crazy Dakar vehicles.
— Tom Coronel (@TomCoronel) January 15, 2020