Fernando Alonso completes Dakar Rally without windshield

Fernando Alonso completes Dakar Rally without windshield

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, competing for the first time in the 2020 Dakar Rally, finished the event in the 13th spot with a broken windshield. The Dakar Rally is considered as the toughest competition in the world motorsport or not. The 8,000-km rally covers sand, dunes, and extremely rough and rocky terrain. Many leading rally drivers consider just completing the event as an achievement in itself.

Fernando Alonso at 2020 Dakar Rally

The 2020 Dakar Rally was held in Saudi Arabia for the first time. Alonso, who quit Formula 1 racing in 2018, contested the rally in a specially customized Toyota Hilux. Alonso got off to a rather rocky start when his car hit a hole which severely damaged the car’s suspension and ripped off a wheel. The incident cost him significant recovery time.

2020 Dakar Rally

Later, in stage 10 of the race, the truck rolled down a sandhill which damaged the windshield. Instead of wasting further time, Alonso removed the broken windshield and completed the race without it. The Spaniard, being a Formula 1 race, is experienced in windshield-less driving. The Dakar rally, however, is an off-road event with most of the track in the desert. Driving without a windshield is almost impossible since the sand blows directly into the eyes. Neither Alonso, nor his co-driver, former Dakar Rally champion Marc Coma, were injured in the incident. 

Fernando Alonso at 2020 Dakar Rally

Toyota president Akio Toyoda praised Alonso for his achievement. Toyoda said that he wasn’t particularly worried about the broken windshield since Alonso is already used to it since his Formula 1 days. 

Video footage has since revealed that the Toyota Hilux went into a double-spin and crashed down a sand plume. Alonso seemingly struggled to control the truck before he slid off the peak. The crash, to make matters worse for Alonso and Coma, came only 2 km after the 534 km 10th stage of the rally begun.    

Fernando Alonso at 2020 Dakar Rally

Earlier on 13 January, Portuguese motorcyclist Paulo Goncalves died after he suffered a crash in stage 7 of the event. The fatal accident occurred during the ride from Riyadh to Wadi al Dawasir. A medical helicopter was dispatched to pickup Goncalves who was pronounced dead when brought to the Layla Hospital.

Also read: Toyota invests $394 million in all-electric flying car

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