— Pablo Mena (@PMena_GP) January 15, 2020
(Video Credit: Twitter Pablo Mena)
The SPANISH pilot Fernando Alonso (Toyota) suffered a dramatic accident after just one kilometre of the 345 that made up the times section of the day’s stage.
The car flipped multiple times down a dune, images show spectators rushing to help Alonso and his co-pilot, only for Alonso to speed away within seconds after the spectacular fall.
The tenth stage of the Dakar is disputed between Haradh and Shubaytah, in a route mostly composed of dunes where the race enters the “Empty Room” of Saudi Arabia, a huge desert of about 650,000 square kilometres practically uninhabited.
Today’s mishap was even more of a handicap for the Spanish F1 star as it was a stage where competitors are not allowed to be aided by their team mechanics to repair their vehicles, any breakdowns must be dealt with by the vehicle crew.
For his part, Fernando Alonso finally finished in 51st place after having to change two flat tyres as a result of the accident suffered at the very start of the stage.
Fernando Alonso was in tenth place in the overall standings of the Dakar, after having completed four consecutive stages in the top ten, including second place in stage eight.
However today’s unfortunate accident will put him back. It is the second major incident suffered by Alonso in almost 3,000 kilometres of the rally. The first resulted in the loss of two and a half hours on the second day in order to repair a wheel that broke when it hit a stone in the middle of a cloud of dust.
The 2020 Dakar is held entirely in Saudi Arabia, with twelve stages from 5 to 17 January, with a total route of almost 8,000 kilometres, of which 5,000 are timed.
Spanish fans have tweeted their concern over today’s accident, many pointing out that it seems Fernando’s car flipped because he was trying to avoid the many spectators that were on the dune at the time he drove past.
ÚLTIMA HORA. Fernando Alonso vuelca nada más salir en la especial de la etapa Maratón de hoy #DakarRTVE15EN Imagen de Álvaro García. 2 ruedas pinchadas. Los pilotos están bien. Siguen pero con daños importantes. pic.twitter.com/ZobnZwjcF7
— Paco Grande (@PacoGrandeTVE) January 15, 2020
BREAKING:. Fernando Alonso overturns as soon as he starts the special stage of today’s marathon #DakarRTVE15EN Image by Álvaro Garcia. 2 flat tires. The pilots are fine. They continue but with significant damage.
The tweet was followed by a flow of concerned comments from Spanish fans:
“What a danger all those people! I think he flipped over because he didn’t want to take them with him.”
“I think the same thing, in almost all the videos you see people in the middle of the tracks and they don’t even move to get out of the way, I don’t understand how it’s allowed…”
“The spectators are too close and Fernando has to dodge them so they don’t get run over”
“That’s great! Spectacular!! A few seconds and they go on!!”
“Good thing both pilots are okay!”
“The bestiality of the Dakar… It’s a good thing both pilots are OK.”