Alonso aims to make history as Dakar Rally heads to Saudi Arabia

Riyadh (HRNW) Spanish driver Fernando Alonso is aiming to create history as the first Formula One world champion to win the Dakar Rally when the 12-day marathon gets underway in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Alonso, who won the F1 championship with Renault in 2005 and 2006, is one of 351 starters in this year’s 7,500-kilometre race which has moved from South America to Saudi Arabia, both venues a long way from the original 1979 route between Paris and the Senegalese capital Dakar.

Among the starters will be motorbikes, quad bikes and trucks but Alonso, who will have five-time bike champion Marc Coma navigating his Toyota, will be in the car category as he bids to become one of the greatest all-round drivers of all time.

Apart from his success in F1, the 38-year-old Spaniard has also won the Le Mans 24-hour race and has singled out the Indianapolis 500 as his priority for 2020.

He describes Dakar as “the biggest challenge of my career”.

Alonso is not the first F1 driver to take part in the race.

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