Alonso teams up with Coma in Lichtenburg 400
Fernando Alonso of Spain, one of the drivers of Toyota Gazoo Racing (starting no.8) in a Toyota TS050 Hybrid celebrates his victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours race in Le Mans, France, 16 June 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/EDDY LEMAISTRE
Spanish Marc Coma celebrates his victory in the motorbike category after the last stage of the 2015 Rally Dakar, between Rosario and Buenos Aires, in Argentina, 17 January 2015. EPA-EFE FILE/FELIPE TRUEBA
Madrid, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Spanish two-time Formula 1 World Champion, Fernando Alonso, will pair up with five-time Dakar Rally winner in the motorbike class, Marc Coma, at the Lichtenburg 400, the Toyota Gazoo Racing team announced Friday.
The Japanese team decided to enter both Spaniards in the Lichtenburg 400, round five of the South African Cross Country Series scheduled to take place on 13-14 September, after “a series of successful trainings in Namibia and Poland.”
Forty two-year-old Coma, a six-time FIM (International Motorcycling Federation) Cross-Country Rallies World Champion, will be Alonso’s navigator.
Initially, Alonso had planned to participate at the non-competitive first outing at the 2019 Harrismith 400 also in South Africa on 13-14 September.
However, after assessing the situation, the 38-year-old champion decided to take part in the Lichtenburg 400 that will include a wide variety of terrain.
The rally will start and end at the Lichtenburg Showgrounds, passing through the towns of Coligny and Koster.
“Working with Marc has been fantastic. I have been able to learn so much from him about rally raid thanks to his wealth of knowledge and experience,” the 2019 FIA World Endurance Championship winner, Alonso, said in a statement published by Toyota Gazoo.
“In this type of motorsport, when you have to drive hundreds of kilometers every day, it is very important to feel comfortable with the person in the car with you.”
Last August, Fernando Alonso rejoined Toyota Gazoo Racing and carried out several tests with the team’s new car, the Toyota Hilux.
Coma, meanwhile, has said he is “really happy and proud to be part of this team and to be able to share my rally raid experience with Fernando.”
“Even though I have been in this sport for a long time, this is still a new challenge for me,” Coma underscored.
“I never imagined that I would be in the navigator seat preparing for rally raid in a Hilux.”
Coma added that he is getting along with Alonso very well and praised Alonso’s technique saying “I can see that he is really methodical in his approach to rally raid.”
Glyn Hall, Toyota Gazoo Racing Team principal, was thrilled to team up Coma with Alonso, explaining that “their combined winning motorsport experience is really impressive and we can clearly see the exciting progress they are making in the Hilux in such a short time.”
“This will be the first time Fernando and Marc will take part in a rally raid competition so it will be a valuable opportunity for them to learn how to deal with the dust from other competitors,” Hall concluded. EFE