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Al-Attiyah: It would be great to have Fernando Alonso at the 2020 Dakar

Qatar's Nasser Al-Attiyah competes in his Toyota during the ninth stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally, in Pisco, Peru, 16 January 2019. EFE-EPA/ Ernesto Arias

Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah competes in his Toyota during the ninth stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally, in Pisco, Peru, 16 January 2019. EFE-EPA/ Ernesto Arias

EFE

Qatari drive Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota) said Wednesday that “it would be great to have (Spain’s) Fernando Alonso at the 2020 Dakar,” after the two-time Formula 1 champion began tests on the car with which the Arab is poised to win this year’s rally.

“We’ll give everything to Fernando to see if he likes it. He promised to come to Qatar or Morocco in the coming months to try it, but he has to coordinate it with the team. I’ll be there to help him,” said Al-Attiyah after winning the ninth and next-to-last leg of the 2019 Dakar Rally in Peru’s coastal desert and all but clinching the contest, barring some major disaster during the last leg.

Al-Attiyah acknowledged that the only thing he’s thinking about right now is getting his vehicle through the race in one piece so that he can secure his third Dakar title and give Japan’s Toyota its first Rally win.

“We came here to fight for this race. We’ve known we’ve had a very good car since last year when we came in second. This year, we’ve improved it a lot. We’ve done a huge number of tests,” he said.

The Qatari said that he has not changed his style of driving but he admitted that he had had to take fewer risks after winning three race stages, coming in second in four others and leading the Rally right from the start, except on the second day.

“We have only one way of driving. It’s the same style of driving. We were managing our advantage. We didn’t need to rush. It’s a perfect job,” said Al-Attiyah.

The ninth leg of this year’s Dakar, which is being run exclusively in Peru, had Pisco as its start and finish point, covering a stretch of 409 kilometers (254 miles), 313 km of which was timed, and starting out on Wednesday with the autos four abreast.


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