WATCH: Alonso survives Dakar debut

Toyota's Hilux Gazoo racing driver Frenando Alonso of Spain and co-driver Marc Coma of Spain compete during the Stage 1 of the Dakar 2020 between Jeddah and Al Wajh, Saudi Arabia, on January 5, 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

The Spaniard trying to make history as the first Formula One champion to win the event.

Dakar Rally debutant Fernando Alonso avoided any first stage pitfalls as the 2020 edition of motorsport’s gruelling 7 500 km marathon began in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Alonso, trying to make history as the first Formula One champion to win the event, completed the drive from Jeddah to Al Wajh in his Toyota in 11th place.

The 38-year-old Spaniard, with five-time Dakar bike champion Marc Coma navigating, was over quarter of an hour behind surprise stage winner Vaidotas Zala.

The Lithuanian led home a 1-2-3 for Mini, 2mins 14sec clear of teammates Stephane Peterhansel, the 13-time Dakar champion, and Carlos Sainz.

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