Fernando Alonso is doubtful that he can immediately be competitive in the Dakar Rally, but says entering the event remains “very appealing” as he begins to plot out his future racing plans.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Alonso announced last week he would not be continuing in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2019/20 season, but would explore other racing activities with Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Alonso tested a Dakar-spec Toyota Hilux with the team in March, with the rally on his radar for the future as he looks to sample a wide variety of races and events.

“It was a trial. It was a gift, let’s say, that thanks to the relationship with the Toyota Gazoo family, I had that possibility,” Alonso said at Spa last week.

“I like to try different things, as I had the NASCAR test, or the MotoGP, or things like that.

“It’s true that being part of the Toyota Gazoo programme, [Dakar] could be also a possibility for the future.

“I think I will study in the summer when I stop all these important months now with the Indy 500 and Le Mans, after I finish everything, I will think what I do for 2020.”

Despite a successful maiden Dakar test alongside 2009 race winner Giniel de Villiers in South Africa, Alonso expressed doubts about how competitive he could be were he to enter next year’s race.

“[2020] is probably out of reach in terms of how competitive I can be, because I never did rally, so I don’t expect to do good there,” Alonso said.

“I think I was fast [at the test], but it was a lap that I knew at the end of the day, because even if it’s 25 km, you more or less know.

“When you do 400 km on a blind stage, I think I don’t know how to read the bumps and how to read the dunes, so I’m honest with myself.

“If Sebastien Loeb or people like that cannot win it in the first couple of years, it’s not like me coming from asphalt and circuits that I will be straight away competitive. I know that.

“As an adventure, it’s very appealing, for sure.”

Alonso will appear at the Indianapolis 500 later this month with McLaren before his final WEC appearance with Toyota at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, where he is poised to be crowned drivers’ world champion alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

Alonso also remains a McLaren F1 ambassador, playing a role in the development of its car for the 2020 season.

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