Fernando Alonso has completed a two-day training programme with Toyota Gazoo Racing in Poland ahead of his entry in the Lichtenburg 400 in South Africa as he continues to step up his preparations for an expected entry into the Dakar Rally.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion notched up 700km in Szczecin across a variety of rally surfaces he is readies himself for a “non-competitive outing” at the Lichtenburg 400 in South Africa with Toyota on September 13-14.

Alonso sampled Dakar Rally-spec machinery with Toyota in South Africa earlier this year in March as he continues his search for new challenges in motorsport since leaving F1 at the end of 2018.

The 38-year-old remains determined to become just the second driver in history to complete the Triple Crown of Motorsport, having recently added winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans on two occasions to his Monaco Grand Prix victory.

The Spaniard claimed the World Endurance Championship crown at his first attempt during the 2018/2019 Superseason campaign with Toyota and now needs to win the Indianapolis 500 to complete his goal.

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

“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.”

Toyota team principal Glyn Hall, who has overseen Alonso’s development, has been impressed by his adaptation speed and is intrigued to see how he operates in a competitive environment.

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

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