Alonso’s Dakar hopes dealt major blow!

Fernando Alonso’s hopes of contending for a spot among the Dakar’s front-runners were dealt a major blow on Monday when the Spaniard was halted for over 2 hours after hitting a rock.

The rally-raid’s second stage in Saudi Arabia saw competitors run from Al Wajh to Neom, a 367 km route which was won by Alonso’s Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Giniel de Villiers thanks to a faultless drive.

Participants were handed the day’s roadbook just minutes before the start of the stage which complicated the field’s navigation.

    Alonso admits Dakar challenge ‘impossible on paper’

Onboard his Toyota Hilux with co-driver Marc Coma by his side, Alonso held his own among the fastest cars until the two-time F1 champion suddenly ground to a halt after 160 kilometers.

An impact with a rock had inflicted damage to the Toyota’s wheel and suspension, which Coma attempted to repair. But ultimately the pair was forced to wait for their assistance truck.

After 2 hours and 30 minutes, Alonso was on the move again, but the mishap was a major setback for the 38-year-old Dakar rookie.

Overall, X-raid Mini driver Orlando Terranova has taken control of the Dakar’s car category in the general standings, the Argentine driver followed by Carlos Sainz Sr., also onboard a Mini, and Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah.

Tuesday’s third stage will feature a 427km loop around the mega city of Neom that will take competitors through canyons and mountains, to the border with Jordan and back.

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