The Spanish driver Fernando Alonso said Thursday that he put “a little in Le Mans mode” and managed to overtake about 60 vehicles during the eleventh and penultimate stage of the Dakar rally
, where he had to leave at position number 113.
“We have counted about 60 cars that we have advanced today, it was a non-stop, but fortunately in the dunes there is better visibility because there is no dust, so you can go ahead on the right and on the left. It has been a good experience, ”said Alonso, who finished the stage with the eighth best time.
«It has been a bit wild what we have to do around. There were people who got stuck in the dunes and you had to find other places to go without knowing how they were. Then the trucks leave an impressive rut. We have lived a new day of tremendous experiences, ”he added.
The Formula 1 and resistance champion clarified that it was not an easy task because the sand was very removed by the passage of the trucks that left before him. «But I think it worked out very well. We have gotten into the ‘top 10’ again and facing tomorrow is a good position to go out, ”he said.
The Spaniard considered that he has given too much importance to the overturn he suffered when passing through a dune this Wednesday in the tenth stage, which made him one of the last vehicles to finish the stage and, therefore, one of the last to leave to this Thursday’s route between Shubaytah and Haradh (Saudi Arabia). «Everything we do is exaggerated. When we do seconds in one stage, it is exaggerated as if it were the world record, and when we turn in another, too, ”said Alonso, adding:“ I know it is exaggerated because today when we recovered the coverage I had about 60 messages from people asking me if it was good. There is much more talk about overturning than doing seconds. Nor do I want to give it much importance.
Balance in the Dakar
The Spaniard valued as a “good learning” all the contrast of experiences he is living in the Dakar, with both good and bad times. “Two days ago we opened track for 300 kilometers, where we were the first car of all, and today we were back almost with the assistance trucks leaving,” he said.
Alonso admitted that the marathon stage on Wednesday, where he and his co-driver Marc Coma had to repair the Toyota Hilux after the overturn since no competitor could have mechanics, was a “very enriching” experience. «It is all very wild what is lived here. Yesterday we were going to a remote place, we were alone sleeping in bunk beds without assistance, and today we were leaving to return here. They have been 48 enriching hours and above all very fun ahead of so many cars, ”he reiterated.
Last stage, in the middle
Looking ahead to the twelfth and final stage of the rally, Alonso said his goal will be “to be competitive again” and finish again in the top ten. “The sensations are unbeatable, wanting to finish and make it a clean stage and enjoy that last day,” said Alonso, who in the absence of the last 379 kilometers is in the thirteenth position of the general classification.
Asked for an assessment of the rally and about to finish it, Alonso acknowledged that it has been days of “tough competition but with a very positive surprise that has been the pace”. “I was a little more worried because they are 500km stages and I thought I could be many minutes away from the leaders at each stage and yet it hasn’t been that way, so very happy in that regard,” he concluded.
However, as it became known later, the last stage will finally consist of only 166 kilometers, half of what was initially planned. «We had to change the beginning of the stage, but the part that remains is the most complicated navigation, five minutes can be lost as ten, many things can happen. Surely they will be lost, ”explained the test director, David Castera. This gives more opportunities if it is possible for Carlos Sainz to take the victory in this year’s Dakar, since he starts with ten minutes ahead of his immediate pursuers. .