There is something very satisfying about seeing Fernando Alonso, the two-time champion in F1, where the driver is just a tiny part of a gigantic team of engineers, lying in the sand helping fix his busted Toyota in the Dakar.
Alonso is racing in the top class of the Dakar Rally, in one of the 4WD Toyota Hiluxes. That is, opposed to one of the 2WD buggies.
Alonso couldn’t avoid a hole and busted a corner off the truck, which was a definite roadside fix. Or, well, not roadside, as the whole thing is far offroad in the desert.
The Dakar is a strong contender for the toughest major race in the world, and even though it’s a part of the Saudi PR machine this year, it’s endearing to see such a top driver once so isolated from the relatable and mechanical side of cars getting dirty. Alonso raced and won during the era of F1 when the cars were probably the most removed from what a normal car looks like, when F1 machines were so affixed with wings and winglets that they seemed to have more in common with aircraft than automobiles.
But F1, the Dakar is not.