In just two days of competition Fernando Alonso as he understood what that meant running the Dakar Rally. There is No competition from the engine, the more extreme and more different from what you're used to. And even if he knew, one didn't assume until you live. “It has been a personal challenge, there is nothing more different from the Formula 1”, said to reach Qiddiya, the final destination. “Here you don't control anything, there is nothing predictable. In a circuit, the turns are always the same. A Formula 1 race lasts never more than two hours, while in a stage of the Dakar you're five or six hours. It is a race slaughterous, extreme from the point of view of the pilot,” explains his physical therapist, Edoardo Bendinelli.
Two days and Alonso started from under a wheel of his Toyota. The ground was broken, there were many stones and large rocks. And he's still not in control of how fast I could take each section. “I wanted to live the Dakar with all the extras and this is part of the experience,” he said then.
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The experience was complete after overcoming the marathon stage, two days in which the arrival at the bivouac in Shubaytah after the first special stage had to come along to his co-pilot Marc Coma. Was not allowed the presence more than the competitors; the teams, with their mechanics, cooks, or physical therapists had been in Haradh. And they, who had returned to break –the video about the two turns of bell that gave his car to take to any gas a dune cut ran as the foam– they saw how they threw up the night. Luckily, they counted with the help of three participants that most riders seemed to be mechanical. The members of the truck 550, led by belgian Dave Berghmans, accompanied at all times by the two times champion of Formula 1, took out the box of tools –and the windshield replacement and they left the Toyota, new, ready to ride more and more dunes.
Alonso completed the marathon with note: following his poor qualifying the previous day, had had to leave in position 113 back to Haradh and finished with the eighth best time. All of a contest that lived in these 374 km of special, a hundred of them with dunes, new cuts and techniques. “The dunes have been where I have found more competitive,” he says. Alonso, who has shown that plenty of ability to rush the revolutions of the Toyota, ahead of that day, about 60 cars and trucks to give 16 minutes to today's winner, stéphane Peterhansel. It was not his best day, but maybe the most entertaining. “It was a little in the way of Le Mans. It was a non-stop, in the dunes as it does not raise dust you can go ahead and on the right hand by the left. It was a little wild that we did. There were people stuck in the dunes and had to find other sites to spend without knowing how they were doing. There were 48 hours enriching and, above all, fun overtaking so many cars,” he summed up.
The pilot spaniard has put in a great Dakar. It doesn't stop being a newbie –with a co-pilot equally newbie as Eat, although good connoisseur of a race that he won on a bike in five occasions, which has crept into the top 10 in up to eight occasions. “I expected to win a stage”, was awarded the director of the Dakar Rally, David Castera. Also what was expected by the pilot himself. And it was close. His best performance came in the eighth stage, when he finished second, four minutes from the winner, Serradori. The next day, in addition to, caught early to the French and opened the track for almost the whole of the special, difficult task, often, is entrusted to the best. In the end, he ceded 13 minutes in front of Peterhansel, what is just and necessary. “I felt competitive all day,” summed up at the end of the rally in 13th position, a 4h 42m 47s of Carlos Sainz.
The competition has been fun for the pilot –“What I liked most is the adventure itself,” he explains. Not so much the environment. He has been seen little by the common spaces. The only day he came to the dining room of the bivouac was the marathon stage, because he didn't have another option that if I wanted to eat something. Retired to a corner of the dining room with a Eat in the same way that the rest of the day sought shelter next to yours in the motorhome that I had in the area occupied by the equipment Toyota. His childhood friend, Alberto Fernández, better known as Galle, was in charge of driving the motorhome between stage and stage. And to assist you in everything you need. Galle, and Bendinelli, who –despite the cold opted for sleeping under the stars, in your tent, next to the vehicle of the pilot, are responsible to provide your friend the best conditions to survive the Dakar.
The star of this edition of the rally raid hard has eaten almost every day chicken with white rice –“and some chocolate as a dessert”, granted Bendinelli– in addition to the energy bars arranged in your vehicle for the portions neutralized each stage. Came strong and without going through the scales as we had been warned that the Dakar makes one lose a few pounds. “Here every few minutes they change the conditions of the terrain, or piloting. Physically you have to be prepared to endure all that, also to let you carry to the demands of the race”, says Edo. To do this I had Alonso to your physio willing to recover at the end of each stage.
The question that I do now is if he will return. He responds: “If I do it in the future will be to win it, to score an important victory in my career. I will have to think about it well, prepare it well and have the best equipment and the best vehicle.”
For now just think of the 500 Miles of Indianapolis.
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