The participation of Spaniard driver Fernando Alonso and his co-pilot Marc Coma in the Rally Morocco 2019 has been confirmed this Thursday. The famous raid will be held from the 3rd to the 9th of October at the North African country. The rider from Oviedo continues to make his way into a discipline which was completely foreign to him until recently with the motivation of a possible debut in the Dakar 2020.
The organisers of the African Rally have made public the list of participants for this year. Among them were the Spanish couple and their Hilux 4×4, from the Overdrive team (Toyota Gazoo Racing). Anecdotally, the number assigned to the Spanish couple has been the #314, a number which is highly symbolic for the Spaniard.
It was with that same number that he was proclaimed World Karting Champion on July the 14 of 1999 in Belgium. From that moment on, he has used the #314 every time he has had a chance. That was also the number he chose for his Formula 1 McLaren from 2014 when the FIA started allowing drivers to choose their own numbers.
As a general rule, big rally raids reserve the number 3 for the car category and so the #301 has been assigned to Nasser Al-Attiyah, the current leader of the standings at the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies. The Spaniard and teammate Marc Coma should make use of any help they can get at the Rally Morocco 2019. Amongst their rivals in Morocco there are non-other than the latest 12 Dakar winners.
Among those that will come face to face in the North African rally are champions such as Spaniards Carlos Sainz (Mini John Cooper Works Buggy) and Nani Roma (Borgward BX7 DKR Evo), South African Giniel De Villiers (Toyota Hilux), the Qatari and defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota Hilux), and last but not least, the Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel (Mini John Cooper Works Rally), the most successful driver in the history of the legendary rally-raid.
Alonso and Coma will therefore measure themselves for the first time against the great legends of the specialty that will gather at the Rally Morocco 2019, a preparatory test for the Dakar. For the Spanish pair, which had their official debut at the Lichtenburg 400, a race belonging to the South African Cross-Country Series (SACCS), this will be a key test before their more than likely participation in the Dakar.
The sands surrounding the town of Fez will be the judge that decides on the Spaniards’ chances to compete in the legendary rally-raid, which is for the first time held in Saudi Arabia, with some guarantee of success. So far Alonso’s sensations behind the wheel of the Hilux have been positive and optimistic but one cannot overlook the fact that the Spaniard lacks any experience in such a hard discipline.
As for the motorcycle category, the raid will also count with some of the most important names in the world; the Australian Toby Price, along with Chilean Pablo Quintanilla, Briton Sam Sunderland, Austrian Matthias Walkner and Argentinian Kevin Benavides. Also travelling to Morocco will be the Spaniards Joan Barreda (Honda), Oriol Mena (Hero), Lorenzo Santolino (Sherco) and Laia Sanz (KTM).
Together with Alonso and Coma, the other Spanish cars in Morocco will be driven by Isidre Esteve, Gerard Subirats, José Luis Peña and Gerard Farrés, the latter two in SxS, and with co-driver Monica Plaza. The clover-shaped layout of the African rally consists of a total of 2,506 kilometres, 1,868 of which will be timed, divided into five stages and primarily in sand with some dirt tracks.