Toyota Gazoo Racing has confirmed the signing of five-time Dakar Rally winner Marc Coma as Fernando Alonso's co-driver ahead of the Spaniard's possible entry to the event in 2020.

Coma won the Dakar Rally's motorcycle class five times before becoming the event's sporting director, but is now set to make a return to competition alongside two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso, who is currently completing an intensive testing programme.

Coma and Alonso recently completed tests together in Poland and Namibia, and will enter the Lichtenburg 400 round of the South African Cross Country Series this week as their preparations for Dakar continue.

"I’m really happy and proud to be part of this team and to be able to share my rally raid experience with Fernando. Even though I’ve been in this sport for a long time, this is still a new challenge for me," Coma said.

"I never imagined that I would be in the navigator seat preparing for rally raid in a Hilux. Still, this new challenge really excites me because I’m confident I can bring something to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and I want to push my own limits to give my best.

"Fernando and I are working really well together and I can see that he is really methodical in his approach to rally raid. He is also adapting really well to driving the Hilux and we are seeing improvements not just day by day, but run after run."

Alonso added: "Working with Marc has been fantastic. I’ve been able to learn so much from him about rally raid thanks to his wealth of knowledge and experience. In this type of motorsport, when you have to drive hundreds of kilometres every day, it’s very important to feel comfortable with the person in the car with you.

"Marc and I are getting along very well and we are working effectively as a unit. I’m looking forward to training in a competition environment for the first time which will be very different to our private tests, so it’ll be a good challenge and learning experience for me in the Hilux."