MADRID — Formula One champion Fernando Alonso has taken a test drive in the Toyota Hilux truck that won the Dakar Rally this year. The Spanish driver was in South Africa for the test along with former Dakar Rally champion Giniel de Villiers. Toyota won this year's race with three-time winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. Alonso says the session "was definitely fun, different," and added it was interesting to see how much beating the vehicle could take while going over rocks and bumps. The Spaniard retired from F1 last season and is reportedly considering racing in the Dakar Rally. He has been competing in endurance races and will be back for a second run at the Indy 500 this year. Alonso said Wednesday on Twitter: "Great to experience different cars and approach to racing in Motorsport."
What a day! Thanks Toyota Gazoo to make this test happen. Great to experience different cars and approach to racing in Motorsport. #toyota #motorsport @toyota_sa @toyotamotorsportgmbh pic.twitter.com/n4ERIGoAXW — Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) March 27, 2019
More AP auto racing
Toyota makes numerous vehicles one would readily associate with the legendary Paris-Dakar rally, but the Prius might not come to mind as the first choice for the Sahara Desert. But that's the car a Japanese team chose for their 4,350-mile adventure.
Team ACP is a privateer team, which has taken part in the Paris-Dakar numerous times. In 1981, ACP's Kiichiro Yokota became the first Japanese driver to reach the Dakar finish line, driving a production Land Cruiser FJ60; in 1987, the team won the marathon class of modified diesel vehicles. It goes without saying the ACP drivers are no strangers to Dakar or the Sahara, and their Prius drive retraced the route they took to prepare themselves for the first rallies almost 40 years ago. The team has also tested Priuses on several continents in varying conditions starting all the way back in 1997, when the first generation was released.