Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso says he will “probably” return to the Dakar Rally in the future after finishing 13th at his first attempt of the legendary rally raid race.
Alonso turned his attention to Dakar after winning the FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota last June, continuing his bid to sample and compete across numerous forms of motorsport.
The Spaniard teamed up with co-driver Marc Coma as part of Toyota’s four-car Dakar entry, and impressed through his first attempt at the race, placing as high as second on one of the stages.
Alonso survived a crash on the second day and a double-roll on the penultimate marathon stage to cross the line on Friday in 13th place, less than five hours down on winning driver Carlos Sainz.
Speaking on the finisher’s podium in Saudi Arabia, Alonso said his first taste of the Dakar had been “amazing”.
“This is the toughest rally in the world, and to be here after 12 stages was not easy. Sometimes we had to deal with some difficulties, but we have an amazing team,” Alonso said.
“These guys were amazing. Not only here, the last seven months, so thanks Glynn [Hall, team principal], thanks Toyota, and see you soon.”
When asked if he would return to Dakar, Alonso said it was likely, but refused to put a firm date on it.
“Probably I will come back. I don’t know if next year or in the future editions, I really enjoyed it,” Alonso said.
“The marathon stage was OK, but hopefully the next one is going to be a little bit smoother.”