Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso recorded his best result of the Dakar Rally on Monday, finishing second behind Frenchman Mathieu Serradori on stage eight. The stage was shrouded in mourning after the death on Sunday of Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves.
Serradori finished 4min 4sec ahead of Toyota’s Alonso, with Argentinean Mini driver Orlando Terranova in third, at 6:19. Alonso, who had finished four times in the top 10 without having made the podium in a stage, was quick to heap praise on his co-driver/navigator Marc Coma, a five-time Dakar champion on a motorbike.
Alonso’s second place sees him consolidate his 13th place in the overall standings, more than 3hr 10min off the pace set by Carlos Sainz.
The battle continues atop the general classification between the leading trio of two-time winner Sainz, defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah and Stephane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner (seven in cars, six on bikes). Tuesday’s 9th stage sees the cavalcade travel to the eastern town of Haradh on a 410km special.