“It's stressful that you always expect so much from me. I can't go slowly even in the karts »
Fernando Alonso counts the hours to begin his first Dakar, a new experience for the double champion of Formula 1 that he faces with intensity and humility, but where he anticipated that he will bring out his competitiveness «at the first of change». Alonso, who will run the Dakar at the wheel of a Toyota Hilux, the 4x4 that won the last edition, explained in a round table where the Efe Agency participated that its strategy will be conservative during the first days to gain confidence, but without going slow to stay always be possible among the top ten.
Do you feel special nerves to debut in a race like the Dakar?
Fernando Alonso: Not for now, I'm still pretty calm. I suppose that the nerves will arrive the day of beginning or when moments of some tension arrive. I am calm but knowing the difficulty of the challenge and assuming it with humility and a competitiveness that we all have inside and that will shine at the first change.
Doesn't a tingle invade you for being in what is possibly the greatest adventure of your career?
Two days after starting a Dakar without ever having made a career outside the asphalt, I am aware of the challenge that lies ahead and that many people do not even think about trying. There are going to be fifteen days of experiences. Each day will serve to write almost a book of everything we live inside the car Marc (Coma) and me. At the same time I am ready to enjoy it.
You arrived in Saudi Arabia on December 28. Is the wait long?
Very long. We have been here for almost a week to adapt and test the car. One day it was to put everything in its place in the caravan, another to prepare the sleeping bag for the marathon stage ... they are all new experiences for me that I live with a lot of intensity because I am knowing them from scratch, but also trying to relax, sleeping a lot and eating well. The day you start to get tired and sleepy there is no turning back and you will be tired the rest of the Dakar. Therefore, starting with something extra in your pocket is important.
How do you anticipate the race will be?
Without knowing the race very well, I think that the second week may be the moment where you have more confidence and there is a natural selection that always makes the race. We must always try to be in that funnel whose end comes only a few competitive cars.
What will be your strategy in this rally?
In the early stages be quite conservative and do not take unnecessary risks that could waste too much time or compromise the rest of the rally, but also do not loosen too much because otherwise you start to get out of the "top 10" or "top 15". You have to not risk but not go too slow. A good start would help confidence to move forward.
Do you notice the recognition of the people of the Dakar for doing something unique in the world of motoring?
I have noticed a lot of recognition from those who know the hardness of the rally. From the first day I signed up for this challenge, everyone in the Dakar has welcomed me with open arms and helped me in everything I could, both 'Nani' (Rome), as Carlos (Sainz) and colleagues of the team. Any details that may be useful to me are telling me.
How do you handle the great expectation that arouses your participation in the Dakar?
This is another world. My level of competitiveness will be different from that of the circuits. I have to learn a lot yet before being super competitive. The expectation will always be there because I live with her. Every day I wake up, there are ten eyes to see everything I do. When I do a go-kart race I have about 15 or 20 stopwatches on every lap I do and I can't make a slow turn to breathe because if they aren't going to take it as a reference. My life is stressful in that sense because you always expect a lot from me.
Will that prevent you from enjoying the experience?
The provision is to try to enjoy and at the same time be as fast as possible. Also have a good day with Marc. Here the co-driver matters a lot too. If you have a good day it can make you win 10 minutes, but it can also make you lose 10 if you enter a negative spiral. You have to have a good connection inside the car and gradually see where you are. It is part of the adventure and the important thing is to try to do it well.