Alonso not classified on rally debut after rolling his Hilux

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Fernando Alonso emerged unscathed after rolling his Toyota Hilux during his rally debut in South Africa.

The two-times Formula 1 world champion was competing in the Lichtenberg 400, round five of the South African Cross Country Series.

Alonso was running competitively prior to the crash. He placed third in the prologue stage of the event and was running in third when he rolled his Hilux 23 kilometres into the first loop of the event.

The impact broke the car’s windscreen which meant Alonso and his co-driver, motorcycle rally champion Marc Coma, had to complete the loop wearing goggles. They were able to continue to the service point where the car was repaired.

The pair were allowed to begin the second loop of the stage 15 minutes ahead of the field to gain experience without having to run in the dust of their competitors. However Alonso and Coma suffered a further setback when the car hit a flock of birds which damaged the windscreen again. Coma had to hold the damage screen in place after in collapsed.

Having posted competitive times earlier in the event, Alonso and Coma reached the chequered flag but was not classified due to the time lost. The rally was won by Henk Lategan ahead of Giniel de Villiers and Chris Visser.

Alonso was participating in the event as he gathers experience of the Toyota Hilux ahead of a potential entry in the Dakar Rally. Toyota motorsport team principal Glyn Hall said the team was “ahead of the plan by far” with Alonso.

“At 40 [kilometres] in he was still 20 seconds off the leading car, which was Henk at the time. After that the windscreen was too damaged,” he told RaceFans. “So overall, fantastic achievement. He’s got some great skills, just got to get a little bit of experience now.”

Images: ILEB via Facebook

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 35 comments on “Alonso not classified on rally debut after rolling his Hilux”

    1. Some unknown entity wants to see Alonso on open wheelers.

      1. Unknown entity? Like… a flock of birds?

        1. I’m worry you are right, desert birds, very common culprit for broken screens.

    2. So basically an eventful debut.

    3. Birds? I don’t see any birds on that photo. They drive on, what it seems, an arid plain, nothing seems to grow there. And yet they drive into a flock of birds.

      1. Says a lot about their luck

      2. They probably didn’t stop to get out and take the birds with them to the stoppage point several kilometres away.

        Also, I can assure you stuff grows there – mostly corn. The first picture is clearly next to an empty corn field, which will be used once it starts raining in about 3 months.

        That’s if it’s not “expropriated without compensation” before then.

      3. @nmgn I know it’s a different desert, but here’s a list of birds found in the Western Sahara. 207 species, most of which are flocking. Contrary to popular opinion, deserts and xeric ecosystems are quite rich and diverse, and have a number of very important ecosystem services and ecological roles. :)
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_of_Western_Sahara

        1. You missed out the F1 grid girls who were dropped from all events by Liberty. I feel sure they are the culprits here.

    4. Hmmm …. so you’re a dezert-kinda-guy! Good to know.

    5. Alonso doing what Alonso usually does.

        1. Probablly he found to much grip and rolled it.

          1. “If I roll the car, I do the best roll. I gave it 110%, nobody could do better”

    6. GP2 Chassis!!! GP2 Chassis!!!

      Sorry…..had to be done….

    7. AND he “laid it over” … a “roll” would be sky-ground-sky-ground-ground.

    8. Didn’t that guy used to be an F1 driver ?

    9. He definately wouldn’t make it in Baja!

    10. Yeah, no experienced driver have ever rolled the car in the Dakar rally…

    11. haha.
      The best driver in the world, surely there’s been a mistake? Was his co-driver driving? Alonso is too good to make such errors!

      LOL

      1. What?!
        The best driver in the Universe EVER rolled the car?!?

        I refuse to believe it!
        It must have been a sabotage, cunning groundhog or Ericsson…

        Now serious.
        20 seconds after 40km? Not bad.

        The pair were allowed to begin the second loop of the stage 15 minutes ahead of the field to gain experience without having to run in the dust of their competitors.

        Yeah… right… For him an experience running in the dust would have been more helpful – he won’t probably be running first in Dakar.

        Maybe now he will realize Rally Raid are tough as hell…

      2. Driving in 3rd place on debut in such a different series to F1 or WEC is pretty impressive to me.

      3. Put him next to vettel and alonso looks like a god

    12. Must be a dog of car… Everything he drives is a dog of a car, like his favorite dog that had 15 podiums and 3 wins….

    13. Roll over, Alonso,
      Tell Toyota the news!

      1. I’m gonna tell aunt May
        bout uncle Nando

    14. The car hit a FLOCK OF BIRDS? Is he cursed or something?

      1. The birds could see a mile off that he’s chasing a triple crown lol.
        (or maybe they read it on F1Fanatic)

      2. Oh no!! bumped again!! Lol

    15. Why everyone hates FA ..count me also lol.

    16. From total downforce to total lift – Alonso has tasted both sides of the aerodynamic spectrum!

    17. Poor Marc Coma, he retired to avoid risks of Dakar. And now he sits like the co-driver with a driver that is going to crash continuously. I don’t know if its worth the sacrifice, just for advertising and some quick euros.
      Marc should learn lots of mechanic and how to deal with all type of accidents, because he’s going to be very prepared to solve all type of things, because his driver won’t dirty his hands in repairing anything, and he’s very unsafe driving.
      This type of car racing isn’t similar to f1, where he ignored flags, and safety cars to take advantage of the situations, he’s going to have a hard time driving around rocks and not in the safe tarmac.

      1. where he ignored flags, and safety cars to take advantage of the situations

        [citation needed]

    18. Welcome to Africa 🌍 mate it ain’t straight forward here it’s 🙃 upside down 👇🏽

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