Fernando Alonso has continued dipping his feet into unknown waters with a test of Toyota's Dakar Rally car in South Africa.
The Spaniard, who won world titles in 2005 and 2006, drove the Toyota Hilux in the Kalahari Desert. Alonso was at the wheel of the 2019-spec car that won the famous Dakar race this year, alongside former event winner Giniel de Villiers.
Fernando Alonso tests Toyota's Dakar rally car
Fernando Alonso gets behind the wheel of the Toyota Hilux for the first time in South Africa.
Alonso has stepped away from F1 racing this year -- although he will test McLaren's 2019 car next week in Bahrain -- to focus on other pursuits. He will complete the World Endurance Championship 2018/19 super-season with Toyota at June's Le Mans 24 Hours, an event he won last year, while also contesting the Indy 500 for a second time in May.
If he wins the Indy 500, he will become only the second driver to have ever claimed victory at the oval circuit, Le Mans' famous event and the Monaco Grand Prix (which he did in 2006 and 2007). Graham Hill claimed that Triple Crown across the 1960s and 1970s.
He has not shied away from trying new categories and this year completed the Daytona 24 Hours for the second time.
He enjoyed his most recent car outing.
"I have tried different series and different cars over the past two years and it is an opportunity to try something very different to what I am used to driving," Alonso said. "It has been fun. Different, no doubt, but interesting. The car takes a significant amount of abuse, more than I am used to having. But it was a lot of fun.
"Everything is very different. The bumps are complicated to read, to judge their height and how fast you have to drive over them. The car is going well, with good grip, balance, power and braking. Everything feels incredible.
"It's still the first few minutes in the car, but I feel comfortable, more than I probably thought, despite the heat inside."