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April 1, 2019

Alonso Tries the Dakar-Winning Toyota Hilux; Calls It Fun (Water is Also Wet)

Ex-Formula One drivers seem to have a lot of free time on their hands. When he’s not racing at the FIA Endurance Championship (WEC), Fernando Alonso is filling up his schedule by testing race cars from various disciplines. His latest foray has him drive the Dakar Rally winning Toyota Hilux.

Spending two days in the Kalahari Desert, Alonso along with WEC teammates Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima drove the Toyota Gazoo Hilux which won the 2019 Dakar Rally last January. In racing form, the Hilux is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine putting out 385 horsepower and 620 Nm of torque.

For the test, Alonso drove the Hilux on two layouts around the desert, one spanning 8 kilometers and the other, 17 kilometers.

Fernando Alonso: “I followed the Dakar and thanks to TOYOTA Gazoo Racing I had the opportunity to come here to South Africa to test the Dakar-winning Hilux. I have tested different series and different cars these past couple of years and this was a great chance. It has been fun; certainly, different to what I am used to driving, but very interesting. We built up speed slowly, learning lap after lap. It’s not easy to read the bumps and to know how much speed to carry but I became more confident each time. The Hilux feels great; it has good grip and balance, lots of power and impressive braking. It felt incredible to drive this car.”

Could this mean Alonso would like to try his hand at the Dakar Rally too? It’s too early to tell, but at least for the next coming months, his schedule will be jampacked including a second attempt at winning the Indy 500 race this May.

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