Dakar Rally 2020

Fernando Alonso hits a rock as SA's Giniel de Villiers wins Dakar stage 2

Former F1 champion plunges down the order with suspension damage, while Mini's Orlando Terranova takes the lead in Saudi Arabia

06 January 2020 - 16:07 By Reuters and Motoring Staff
Fernando Alonso dropped to 48th overall in the car category after damaging his Hilux on a rock.
Fernando Alonso dropped to 48th overall in the car category after damaging his Hilux on a rock.
Image: Suplplied

Argentine driver Orlando Terranova leads the Dakar Rally after the second stage in Saudi Arabia on Monday, while double Formula One champion Fernando Alonso smashed his Toyota on a rock and fell hours behind.

Alonso was running fourth in his Hilux pickup after 100km, but the Dakar debutant was then sidelined with suspension damage and a broken wheel on the 367km stage from Al Wajh to the desert city of Neom.

The Spaniard, with five-times Dakar winner Marc Coma as his navigator, was 11th overnight but plunged to 48th in the standings as they waited for an assistance truck.

The pair finally got moving again after a delay of two and a half hours.

Terranova, driving a Mini, finished second in the stage won by Toyota's South African Giniel de Villiers to carve out a lead of four minutes and 43 seconds over Spaniard Carlos Sainz in a Mini buggy.

"It was very tricky, especially towards the end when we lost a lot of minutes. We had trouble finding our way and had to turn back two times, 3km back and forwards. It was tricky, but at least there were no punctures today," said Sainz.

Defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar was in third place for Toyota, six minutes off the lead.

De Villiers, winner in 2009, moved up to sixth overall - 12 minutes behind Terranova.

Lithuanian Vaidotas Zala, the overnight leader in a Mini, dropped to fifth.

In the motorcycle category, Botswana's Ross Branch won the stage, while Sam Sunderland from the UK was runner-up and took over at the top for KTM.