Two-time F1 champion Alonso 11th after Dakar Rally first stage

Formula 1
Fernando Alonso

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso finished 11th on the first stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

The Spaniard is making his debut in the event for Toyota and trying to become the first F1 world champion to win it.

The 38-year-old, alongside navigator and five-time Dakar motorbike champion Marc Coma, was over a quarter of an hour behind stage winner Vaidotas Zala.

Monday’s second stage is a 401km drive from Al Wajh to Neom.

Lithuanian Zala led home a one-two-three for Mini, two minutes 14 seconds clear of team-mates Stephane Peterhansel, the 13-time Dakar champion, and Carlos Sainz.

Defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah, who led for more than 200km, finished fourth after late mechanical problems with his Toyota.

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